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classy_cat18
15th August 2005, 12:58 PM
Hi there! I noticed a couple weeks after the server went back up that my fic was gone. Just…gone. So I’m reposting for my old readers and maybe some new readers. Just remember that you should read A Doolittle of Pokemon first. It’s in the archive. By the way, mr_pikachu, I’m almost done with my latest chapter.

Talon’s Warning

The face of the legendary dog of thunder stared at me, close enough for me to smell his breath. We have crossed paths several times, yet it was a mystery as to why he has taken such an interest in my safety.

“How do you know about the Aurora Knights? How do you know about me?”

“My past is your present,” he said.

“Excuse me?”

“My past is your present.”

I looked up. Storm clouds dotted the sky in my mind. I welcomed them with open arms, anticipating the lightning.

“My soul is your soul. My blood is your blood,” he continued.

I looked down at the Aurora Key. It was covered in blood! I tried to wipe it off, but it wouldn’t come clean.

“What’s happening?” I cried out to him. I scrubbed at the golden dragon that was wrapped around the Key. I saw its glowing eyes.

“You cannot control the dragon. Your desires must be the same as his.”

My eyes shot open. I had that dream ever since the Key had been awakened, and each time I had it, it felt more real. It was starting to turn into a real nightmare.

I was once more in Ryan’s bed. Every time I tried to give him back his bed, one of our mothers would interfere and insist that “I make myself at home”. But this wasn’t my home. Now both Mom and Ryan slept on the floor of the den. It would be weeks until my house was restored.

I looked outside the window at the cloudy night sky. There was something wrong with what I saw. I found the problem: it was snowing. Gentle snowflakes were falling slowly on the ground. It showed no signs of sticking, though.

I was about to wake up the Pokemon from their sleep when I heard tapping. A Sneasel was on the other end, tapping on the window with one of her long claws. It stopped tapping and put the claw to its lips, signaling for me to keep quiet.

“What are you doing here?” I mouthed.

The Sneasel lifted something to the glass for me to see: an Aurora Crystal. At least, I think it was. For one thing, it was a milky-white color with black swirls. It looked more like an opal.

“Are you a Knight?” I mouthed. The Sneasel nodded and gave a “come here” gesture. I held up my index finger as if saying “Give me a minute”. I put on my sneakers and slipped through the front door. It was waiting in the doorway, wearing a smile.

“Did Char or Feather send you here?” I asked the Sneasel. I noticed that it had stopped snowing.

“Yeah, in a way,” it told me in a feminine voice. “Call me Talon. Are you Shonta, the new holder of the Dragon Key?”

“Say what?”

She pointed to the Key. “That is what it’s called, right?”

“I don’t know. Everyone has just been calling it the Aurora Key.”

“News flash, sister: There are two Aurora Keys. You are holding the Light Dragon Key. There is also the Dark Phoenix Key, which is just as powerful.”

“It sounds evil.”

“It’s dangerous, but it’s certainly not evil. Think about the two Keys as Yin and Yang. One cannot exist without the other.”

Talon had my full attention. “Tell me more, Talon.”

She turned her back to me. “Walk with me, little Knight.” She started to walk around the house, toward the flower field near the edge of town. I hesitated for a minute then followed her. Char and Feather never told me these things. Why?

I caught up with Talon. “Where are Char and Feather? I haven’t seen them in days.”

She shrugged. “They may be gathering the new recruits, so they may come back to you soon.”

“Do the new recruits go to a school or something?”

“Yes, they are taught by experienced Aurora Knights. Weak recruits with strong Crystals need to be taught how to control them.” She sounded as if she didn’t want to talk about the subject.

“How was your life like before you joined the Aurora Knights?” I asked her.

Her tone became harsh and cold. “Crappy, like everyone else’s. It was like a roller coaster; first life was wonderful, then it was hell, now it’s a mixture of the two. Now let me ask you a question.”

“Shoot.”

“Did Char and Feather tell you this when they first met you?”

“No, but they didn’t have time to tell me these things.”

She gave a harsh chuckle. “A sorry excuse. They had plenty of time; they just wanted to keep you in the dark. Like those other pathetic excuses for Knights kept me in the dark.”

“Why are you talking about the Knights like that?”

She stopped. “Because they are as evil as the Umbra Demons!”

I took a step back. “You’re lying. They saved my life!”

“Yes, but they also take it away. They save everyone, and then demand the ultimate price: their life. Doesn’t that sound like the legend of the Umbra Demons?”

“You mean they kill?”

Tears streamed down her face. “No, but they do much worse. When they saved my life, they told me that I would be hunted because I was an Aurora Knight. They told me to accept my fate and join them. They told me to leave my home and the friends that I had left! Because of them my whole life went into oblivion!”

“But you made new friends and found a new home, right?”

“Why does everyone expect me to just throw away my past? Why can’t I go back to him and die?”

“Who are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about my mate! I had to leave him because he didn’t ‘make the cut’. He wasn’t strong enough for them, but I’m not strong at all without him!”

“Then just go back to him.”

“If I do, then he dies. Umbra Demons will hunt down your loved ones until you have nothing left. He is all that I have left and I will not let him die!”

Now I felt tears. “I’m sorry.”

“Not as sorry as you’re going to be. Pokemon may lose their life, but humans lose more than that.”

“What is that?”

“They lose their humanity. The moment a human receives their Crystal, they lose a part of their human selves literally. They become Pokemon.”

“They turn into Pokemon? I’m going to turn into a Pokemon?”

She nodded again. “It’s sad, but true. I’ve heard stories about humans that were unlucky to find a Crystal. Sometimes it does nothing because they weren’t chosen to wear one. They didn’t have the soul that the Crystal searches for.”

“Soul?”

“Those that are very close to Pokemon have souls that are appealing to them. They are almost like Pokemon themselves. Those are the ones that the Crystals want. But it’s not enough. To have the soul of a Pokemon, one must have the body to match it in order to wield the Crystals. A little bit of DNA alteration is all it takes, and that’s the first thing that the Crystals do to you. Not enough to completely change you, but enough to give you what you need. After all, humans aren’t physically capable of breathing fire or swimming up strong currents, right?”

I nodded, my eyes fixated on Talon.

“But aren’t you a lucky devil!” Talon continued. “You have the Dragon Key, and that takes more than a little change for you to wield it.” She looked up in the sky and quietly growled. “He finally sensed me. He’s slowly getting better.”

There was a loud thud behind me. I turned around and looked up at Char. He glared at Talon, fire in his eyes. Talon glared back.

Char pushed me behind his back. “What are you doing here, Talon? I thought I told you not to come near her and fill her head with your ideals.”

“The only thing I filled her head with is the truth. Why someone as virtuous as you didn’t want to tell her that is a mystery to me.”

“I didn’t have time.”

Without thinking, I punched Char’s back as hard as I could. “That’s the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard!” I cried out. I ran back in the house, hating for what I was about to become.

What is going on? Who are the good guys? Will I have to leave my life completely like Talon? These questions raced through my mind as I tiptoed through the rooms and back into the bed. But another question froze my heart in fear. If Talon was right about humans turning semi-Pokemon, and if the Dragon Key has been inside of me…

Am I already part Pokemon?

classy_cat18
16th August 2005, 10:50 AM
A Trip to Ecruteak

Why can’t I be normal? Why can’t I…breathe? I felt something pinch my nose. Ryan.

“Sleeping the day away again, are we? Why did they choose you to carry the Aurora Key, anyway?” he asked me as he released my nose.

“Don’t go there,” I grumbled. I looked out of the window at the late morning sun-drenched yard. Actually, it looked earlier than usual.

“Five minutes after eight, and you’re sleeping while the rest of us are enjoying the sun,” he teased.

“You’re waking me up at 8:05?” I growled.

“Yeah! Char and Feather are taking us to meet some of our fellow Aurora Knights. Aren’t you psyched?”

“Sure I am,” I said in mock enthusiasm, recalling my conversation with Talon. The rest of the night was turbulent, revisiting the Raikou dream when I finally fell asleep. I didn’t even remember my falling asleep; I was too busy hating Char for what he had hidden from me. How can he expect me to leave everything in my life and join something that was starting to sound more and more like the French Foreign Legion?

What about Feather? Shouldn’t I be hating her, too?

I couldn’t hate Feather. She…she…

I’m being biased. I can’t hate Char for something that maybe even he had to endure when he joined the Aurora Knights.

“Hello! Earth to Shonta! Are you there, Shonta?” Ryan yelled in my ear.

I snapped back to reality. “Stop that, will you?” I told him.

“Are you alright? You’re moodier than usual. So has Char. Don’t tell me you two got into another fight.” He sat on the bed, his eyes wearing a slightly concerned expression.

“This Knight named Talon came by and told me how the Aurora Knights made her leave behind everything, even her mate.”

“Oh, Char told me about her! You’re such a baby, Shonta.”

I picked up a pillow and smacked Ryan with it. “I’m not a baby! Why are you picking on me this morning?”

“You’re getting overemotional about something inevitable and natural. To Pokemon, at least.”

“Excuse me? Overemotional? Inevitable? Since when did you use such big words?”

He smacked me with the same pillow. “What I’m saying is that Pokemon aren’t humans. They usually don’t have to hang around their parents as long as we have to hang around ours.”

“Talon wasn’t a child, Ryan.”

“But most of the recruits are. Feather explained that Talon was about the same age as the other recruits when she found her Aurora Crystal, but she decided to try to avoid her fate. When fate caught up with her, she was all the more unprepared. It was considered her punishment.”

“Now that’s cold. We’re talking about the Pokemon version of the French Foreign Legion, not homework!”

“What’s so bad about the Aurora Knights?”

“We almost got killed before we officially joined! Every mission could be like that, or worse!”

Ryan rolled his eyes. “Why did you even want to be a Pokemon researcher, anyway?”

I opened my mouth to answer, and then closed it. He made a huge point; researchers and watchers go through the same risks. I was being a baby. “You’re right. I’m sorry,” I chose to say.

Ryan smiled and stood up. “Of course I’m right. Now get some clothes on, already!”

I put on my usual T-shirt and blue jeans ensemble, this time with a baseball cap. I found a backpack with more of my things, among them a new pair of gloves, fingers cut off. I slipped them on, slung the backpack over my shoulder, and looked in the bathroom mirror.

Ryan sure is looking forward to this, probably because he thought his life was so ordinary until all of this happened, I thought to myself. Even I spent one minute staring into Raikou’s face before I even knew about the Aurora Knights. I took a deep breath and made a dash for the front door, opening it slowly. If this morning was like every other morning, I was to be very careful or…

“You idiotic bug!”

“Pathetic lizard!”

Ripper was picking another fight, this time with Char. I looked at the left side of the porch and saw Reaper meditating, grumbling something to himself. I walked to him and tapped him on the shoulder. “I thought you fought with Ripper at this time,” I said to him.

Reaper opened an eye. “Fortunately Char came and granted me peace of mind this morning. Are you prepared for today’s trip?”

I nodded, showing him my backpack. “Have you seen Artemis and Static?” He pointed to the two Pokemon that were sitting next to Feather, who was trying to calm down Char.

“Thanks. You should stay here and watch over the house. I trust you, but Ripper’s something else.”

Ryan walked out of the house, carrying his backpack. “I should return Ripper while he’s not looking,” he whispered.

“Are you looking for a fight?” Char roared.

“No, I’m starting…” Ripper started, but was cut short as he was drawn in his pokeball.

“I smell a corny line, so just skip it,” I said to Ryan as I returned Artemis and Static. We walked up to Feather and Char.

“Let’s get this show in the sky!” Char yelled excitedly. He crouched so Ryan could climb on him.

“Before we go, where are we headed?” I asked him as I climbed on Feather’s back.

“Ecruteak,” Feather answered. With that, we took off.

We were barely out of the Ilex Forest when Ryan said “We should’ve told our moms where we were going, Shonta!”

“Too late for that! We should be back before they get home, so don’t worry,” Char said.

“Speeding up!” She swept back her wings like a fighter jet. Everything started to get blurry. I felt myself get heavy from the G-force.

Feather moved her beak as if she was talking, but nothing came out. She slowed down to my relief. “I said we should be there in no time now,” she repeated.

“Didn’t we leave Char behind?” I asked.

“He’ll catch up really soon.” She looked down and dropped altitude again. Char flew up from below with a heavily breathing Ryan on his back. “Told ya!”

“I wish you would stop doing that!” I heard Ryan yell to Char. “We almost crashed and you know it!”

“We’re here!” Feather chimed. Below us was the center of Ecruteak City. For a second I thought we flew through some sort of time portal; Ecruteak looked like it was stuck in the Feudal Era. It didn’t change one bit since I was little. A city frozen in time…

“Hey, Shonta! I see the college! Look over to the left!” Ryan yelled.

“Um, guys? Something’s wrong down there. You keep on going while I check it out,” Feather said. She flew down and landed in the middle of the city. A few people were standing and staring in different directions, not moving an inch. I walked to a nearby man and waved my hand in front of his face. He didn’t even blink.

“Everyone’s like this. I wonder what happened,” I said to myself.

“It’s probably a powerful Disable attack,” Feather guessed.

Char landed behind me and looked around while Ryan slid off of him. “I’m guessing that Madame Tussaud came by and replaced everyone with wax dummies,” Ryan joked.

“You’re the wax dummy,” I said.

“At least he’s not frozen,” a Pokemon’s voice said.

“Who said that?” I asked in a demanding voice.

“Look down,” the voice said. Looking down I saw a Meowth at my legs, a female by the looks of it. Around her neck was a golden colored Aurora Crystal with a crescent moon encased in it.

“Hi! My name’s Twilight. You must be Shonta, the new owner of the Dragon Key. Who’s the wax dummy?”

Ryan gave a halfhearted laugh. “I’m Ryan Steele. What’s going on here?”

“We’re not entirely sure, but we think that an Umbra Demon came by and froze the whole city. Circe had Magic, Wobert, Sentret and me search for clues.”

“So Circe’s here,” Char said.

“Circe’s a Psychic Aurora Knight, Shonta. She healed Char when he was nearly killed by Ripper,” Ryan informed me. “So where is she, Twilight?”

“Let’s see. She could either be at the Ecruteak Gym or at Ecruteak College. Maybe she’s just somewhere in the streets. I’m worried about Wobert, though.”

“What’s wrong with Wobert?”

The second I was done with that sentence, we heard distant screaming. Twilight sighed. “That’s what’s wrong.” She ran to the source of the sound. Ryan and I ran after her, leaving Char and Feather behind.

We found Twilight with a Sentret and a very freaked out Wobbuffet. The Wobbuffet was wearing a purple Aurora Crystal with an eye design encased in it while the Sentret was wearing an Aurora Crystal similar to Twilight’s. “Where were you, Twilight? Someone could have attacked me and no one would be around to save me,” he said.

“Wobert, what does ‘split up’ mean?” Twilight calmly asked Wobert.

“I could’ve gone with you.”

“Weren’t you with Sentret?”

“She told me to scan this street while she checked out the next street,” Wobert explained.

“How do you expect to become a full-fledged Aurora Knight when you get scared of your own shadow?” Sentret yelled at him.

“It wasn’t my shadow! Something’s in there! Something moving!” He pointed inside a nearby house. An Abra stepped out of there, wearing an Aurora Crystal similar to Wobert’s.

“Magic, what are you doing in there?” Twilight asked him.

He yawned. “Sleeping.”

“I didn’t know you guys slept on the job,” I butted in.

“We don’t. He does,” Sentret said, pointing at Magic.

“This mission totally screwed up my schedule,” Magic complained.

“I’m telling Circe that you were too lazy to do your job,” Sentret told him as she ran off.

“Gee, she’s a ray of sunshine today,” he grumbled.

Twilight cleared her throat. “Guys, this is Shonta and Ryan. Shonta and Ryan, this is Wobert and Magic. They’re recruits just like you two. They’re going to help us look for that Umbra Demon.”

“We are?” Ryan asked.

I elbowed him. “Why do you think an Umbra Demon would freeze the whole town?” I asked the Pokemon.

“They know that the owner of the Phoenix Key lives here in Ecruteak; they just don’t know where,” Twilight answered. “So they’re probably searching the whole town for him.”

“So where is he?”

“He lives in Ecruteak, but he had to go out of town today.”

“I’m thinking that they just froze the town because they wanted to show us they could,” Magic said drowsily.

“That makes a little sense,” Ryan commented.

“Where did Feather and Char go?” I wondered out loud.

A Pidgeotto landed on a roof near us. “Sorry to desert you, but Char wanted to see Circe. Anyway, I checked out the Ecruteak Gym. Even the gym match was frozen! Some kid with his Cyndaquil was going against the gym leader’s Haunter. It looked like the kid was going to lose that round.”

“So no one’s found anyone that could’ve done this,” I said. Then I heard the sound of chanting. It was the kind of chanting that can be done quietly but can echo over large distances so many people could hear.

“Please tell me that I’m not hearing things,” I told the group.

“Depends. What are you hearing?” Ryan asked.

“Some sort of eerie chanting.”

Everyone nodded.

“Everyone, be on your guard,” Feather said boldly.

The chanting got louder for a while, and then stopped. At that time, a Drowzee calmly walked into view. He also wore a purple Aurora Crystal. In his hand was a bell attached to a string.

“Are you the one that froze everyone in this place?” I asked the Drowzee.

He nodded. “I am Houdini,” he announced.

Twilight growled. “You’re an Umbra Demon!”

“Please, don’t call me such a barbaric name,” he said. “I am a Knight like you. I merely did this to send forth a message.”

“Looks like you were right, Magic,” Wobert said.

“See how I, one Pokemon, could easily freeze an entire city in time? It would probably take five humans to do the same. Humans will never make proper Aurora Knights.”

“What makes you say that?” Ryan asked him.

“Humans are such weak creatures. You won’t make it far, I assure you. Stay out of our way and continue with your pathetic lives.” He rung the bell in his hand and disappeared via Teleport. Suddenly everyone that was frozen was moving along like nothing happened.

“That guy was pumped up with himself,” Twilight said. “He didn’t freeze time. He just used Disable on everybody. No one seems to notice yet; it was only like this for thirty minutes at the most.”

“We should go back to Sunflower Town, guys,” Feather told me and Ryan. “Riku won’t be back until this evening.”

I could almost feel the air around Ryan get hotter. “Oh man! We were here to see him!?!”

“You told me about him, didn’t you?” I said.

“Don’t get me started!”

classy_cat18
17th August 2005, 09:36 PM
Don't be afraid to post, people!

The Aurora Mirrors

We got back to Sunflower Town before the morning ended, so I took the time to take a short nap until lunch. We were now enjoying our lunch outside. Fortunately Professor Cedar noticed that Char and Feather were visiting every now and then, so he supplied us with extra food.

“So let me get this straight,” Static said as we all sat in the backyard. “Everyone in Ecruteak City was frozen stiff, youse met new Knights, some weird Drowzee armed with a bell’s on the loose right now, and youse decided to come back here?”

“Yeah,” Ryan and I said together.

“And youse call yourself a Knight,” Static said to Char.

“Circe and the others had the situation under control,” Char said.

“What was with that Drowzee?” I asked Char.

“Houdini’s one of the trickiest Aurora Knights. He found out that the Crystals enabled him to do new attacks. That wasn’t a mass Disable attack that happened; that was Freeze Frame.”

“How’s Freeze Frame different from Disable?”

“Freeze Frame stops everything within a given area. The only problem is that it’s a little beyond a simple Pokemon attack…”

“No kidding,” Ryan interrupted.

“…so Houdini carries around that little bell to help him. First he’ll chant via telepathy, and then he’ll ring the bell to end it. It’s like having someone watch a pendulum while telling them that they’re getting sleepy, and then have them fall asleep instantly by clapping or snapping. He’ll do the same thing to undo it.”

“That was telepathy? No wonder it sounded so creepy,” I said.

“So what else can Houdini do?” Artemis asked.

“I’m not really sure. He used to be a teacher for the Psychic Aurora Knights, but he disappeared about a year ago. Circe probably knows a bit more about this guy.”

“I’m telling you, he joined a cult,” Feather said.

Char teardropped. “Feather got some featherbrained idea that Houdini got together with a few more anti-human Knights and joined a cult. Then again, she may be right.”

“Why does he hate humans so much?” Cinder asked.

“When we first started finding human Knights, we were a little skeptical because humans can’t use Pokemon attacks. But it was weird; the humans we found could do just about everything we could do. We came to an unusual conclusion.”

“The Aurora Crystals were turning the humans into half-Pokemon,” I guessed.

“Yeah. Not anything that any other human would notice, but we Pokemon could smell the difference. Human Aurora Knights have the scent of a Pokemon.”

“Now that you mention it, Ryan does smell like a fire-type Pokemon now,” Cinder commented.

“I’m guessing an Arcanine,” Char said.

“What Pokemon do I smell like?” I asked Char.

The Pokemon looked at each other. “Raikou,” they said together.

“I was afraid of that. But you still didn’t tell us why Houdini hates our guts.”

Reaper took the time to put in his two cents. “Aurora Knights have always been Pokemon. Some of the Knights didn’t want to break tradition. Plus humans fighting like Pokemon can seem very unusual.”

“It’s unnatural, that’s what it is,” Ripper growled. “Humans have evolved in a different direction from us for a reason: to serve us.”

“Uh huh, so why are humans the ones holding the pokeball?” Artemis asked him.

Ripper just growled again and went back to his lunch. I noticed that his lunch looked kinda…liquid. It was in a big bowl with handles on both sides that Ripper could hold. I’ve never seen what he drank from that bowl, but I was hoping that it was water.

I walked over to Ripper and looked in the bowl. It wasn’t water, unless someone pulled a Moses on the water supply. It was blood.

“AHH! Ryan, what is Ripper doing drinking blood?” I cried out in horror.

“Professor Cedar said that Ripper spent most of life living off of blood, so it’s now part of his diet. He’s now required to be a vampire three times a week.”

“Where do you get it from?”

“The guy that Prof. Cedar gets Pokemon food from also supplies Tauros blood for Zubat and its evolutions.”

“That’s gross! How come you never told me?”

“Because you would’ve thought it was gross.”

“You mean you’ve been living with them for a week now and you just now found out that Ripper’s a part-time vampire?” Feather asked.

“He always ate in the attic, so I wouldn’t know,” I pathetically answered.

Stupid answer, Shonta.

“Speaking of the attic, I wanted to show you something,” Ryan said.

“It better not be Ripper’s coffin.” Ripper glared at me.

Ryan shook his head. “Come on!”

The attic in Ryan’s house can be accessed via a pull-down staircase. Once up there, I saw that it was less creepy than when I went up there as a kid. Then again, I only went up there once during the night on a dare. Plus I was scared of everything back then. At least there was a window up there.

“So what’s the surprise?” I asked.

Ryan pointed to a large dust-covered sheet. He pulled off the sheet, revealing a full-length antique mirror. “Mom told me that Dad gave this to her for an anniversary gift. Which is why it’s up here.”

“Nice detail,” I complemented. The glass was unusually clean. The wood looked like mahogany, with beautiful designs carved into it. What really caught my eye was what was carved into it: a pouncing Suicune with Aurora Crystal eyes. The Crystals were clear and sparkling.

“No way! These are real Aurora Crystals!” I said loudly. “How long have you known this?”

“I remember years ago when Mom first had the mirror moved up here. She said the only reason she regretted putting it here was because of these Crystals. She wanted to sell it, but something held her back.”

“This is so cool!” I exclaimed, putting my face close to the mirror. My reflection was clear and very detailed. I could see that my acne was coming back. I was about to go get Char when my Key started to glow. Looking up I found out that the Suicune’s eyes were also glowing.

“What’s going on?” I said in a shaking voice. My feet were glued to the floor as the mirror flashed, as if it was taking a picture of us.

“That was freaky,” Ryan said after a moment of silence. “Hey, do you notice something weird about the reflection?” He put his face close to mirror.

“What’s so weird about it?” I asked him.

“I can’t see my reflection.”

“Let me see.” I peered into the mirror, noticing that I didn’t have a reflection either. I was instead looking at someone else. Someone with orange skin, big nostrils, one big blue eye, and one big pupil-less eye complete with a scar.

“Oh cool, a Charizard,” I said calmly. It took me a couple of seconds for my brain to realize that neither of us was a Charizard.

“Charizard!” Ryan and I yelled at each other. We ran out of the attic like a couple of bats out of hell. We continued down the hall and out the front door, crashing into Char.

“What in the world is wrong with you two?” he asked us.

“Mirror…Crystals…Charizard,” Ryan panted.

“Say what?”

Ryan took a deep breath. “There’s a mirror in the attic that has Aurora Crystals on it. We looked into the mirror, there was this flash…”

“A flash?” Char interrupted.

“And instantly we were making eye contact with a Charizard!”

“Hold up! What did this Charizard look like?”

“He looked huge! He was older than you, plus he looked like one of his eyes was white and it had a scar running across it diagonally,” I described.

“It can’t be! How did my dad get his hands on an Aurora Mirror? How did you get your hands on one?”

“That was your dad?” I said in surprise.

“My dad gave it to my mom for their anniversary,” Ryan added. “Now what’s an Aurora Mirror?”

“We had some talented Knights back in the day. Some Pokemon learned human jobs to make new uses for the Aurora Crystals. They found out that mirrors, when added with a layer of Aurora Crystal, can be used as a means of communication and transportation over long distances.”

“Cool. So how many mirrors were made?” I asked.

“I’m not sure, but they’re distributed all over the world. I think my dad had one hidden in the Charicific Valley so he could talk to other Aurora Knights from time to time. But the last time I talked to him, he said he was going to see an old friend.”

Feather flew over in Pidgey form and landed on my shoulder. “What’s all the noise about?”

“Ryan has an Aurora Mirror in his attic,” Char told her after he de-evolved.

“No way! Show me!” she chirped happily.

“And youse can take me and Cinder while you’re at it,” Static said from behind Char.

“What about Reaper and Ripper? Oh yeah, meditation time,” I said. I didn’t worry about Artemis; she would be out until dinner. I led the way back to the mirror.

Char inspected the mirror. “This mirror could be as old as two hundred years.” He peered into the glass, seeing only our reflection. “Shonta’s Key probably glowed to tell her that someone on the other side was activating his mirror.”

“Then how come it’s still glowing?” I asked him, showing him the Key. It looked like a firefly was trapped in it. Char shrugged.

“I think the dust up here got to your brains,” Static remarked. “I don’t see a Charizard in here.” He took a step back as the mirror flashed again.

“Wow, now it looks like it’s outside,” Cinder said. He put his face very close to the mirror. “I can almost hear voices on the other side.”

Static calmly walked behind Cinder. “Very interesting. Why don’t you take a closer look?” He spun around and kicked Cinder through the mirror. He landed on the other side on soft grass.

“Static! Why did you do that?” Ryan yelled, sounding more angry than surprised.

I slowly put my hand on the mirror. The glass rippled like water. Taking a deep breath, I thrust my hand through the glass.

“How does it feel?” Ryan asked me.

“Kinda like touching Jell-O,” I described as I took my hand out. “Hey Cinder, are you okay?”

“Yeah. Uh-oh! Someone’s coming!” He ran back through the mirror.

A man approached the mirror. A very familiar man. I saw his face in photos in Ryan’s room, photos where he was playing with Ryan, watching him blow out the candles on his birthday cake. A man with spiky black hair and a kind, warm smile.

“Dad?” Ryan asked.

“Prof. Steele?” Feather and Char said together in amazement.

“What the…” Static and I whispered.

“Hi, come on out! It’s nice to see you guys,” Prof. Steele said with a smile.

classy_cat18
18th August 2005, 10:37 AM
A Family Affair

We spent a minute just staring at each other until Prof. Steele broke the silence. “Well, what are you waiting for?” he said to us.

Ryan practically dove through the mirror, followed by the rest of us. The first thing I noticed was that it was slightly cooler there than the weather back home. The sun was also lower, which probably meant that it was morning.

“It’s so nice to see you, son,” Prof. Steele said to Ryan, his arms outstretched. Ryan instantly ran toward his dad, tightly embracing him.

“Aww, ain’t that sweet,” Static said. He turned around and made gagging noises.

“I heard that,” Prof. Steele said, looking at Static. He let go of Ryan and ruffled his hair.

“You did?” Static and I said together. I walked up to Prof. Steele and saw that he was wearing a Flame Crystal like Ryan.

“He has Ryan’s spiky hair, but not the hair color,” Cinder commented. “I guess Ryan got the blonde gene from his mom.”

“I haven’t seen you in a while, either, Shonta,” Prof. Steele said to me.

“I don’t remember you,” I said to him.

“You were a little girl, so I don’t blame you. I gave you Feather for a birthday present.”

“Well, anyone that gives me such a cool present can’t be bad.”

“Shonta, we must be in the Neo region!” Ryan exclaimed.

“Where?”

“I think it’s west from Johto. Mom said that he grew up here and was also a gym leader for a while.”

“Fuji City, the place to compete for a Wildfire Badge,” Prof. Cedar added.

“Is that where we are now?” I asked him.

“Far from it. We’re in what the Knights call Aurora Valley. The place is secluded, completely cut off from man. There are treacherous mountains all around us. This mirror is the only way I can enter.”

He was right; there were mountains in all directions. These were the Rockies, or maybe even the Andes. I didn’t see Pokemon making the trip here.

But the valley was huge; about five times the size of Ilex Forest. No, it had to be a lot larger. There were trees in the north side, almost enough to qualify for a small forest.

“Prof. Steele, I didn’t know you were Ryan’s dad,” Char said.

“Gee, didn’t the name Steele tell you anything?” Static asked.

“It’s a common name.”

“Since when? Didn’t he ever tell you about his relationship with Ryan?”

“No.”

“Did he even tell you why he’s called Professor?”

“We just call him that. His knowledge in fire-types makes him sound like a professor.”

“Prof. Steele, do you know Char?” I asked.

“Sure do. I trained him when he was a little Charmander. Of course, I’m nothing compared to Magma.”

“Let me guess. Magma was the one that scared us stiff.”

“He was trying to reach me. Unfortunately I forgot to tell him that I was using another mirror and he got you guys instead. He must have forgotten that I left my mirror with Ryan’s mother. Speaking of your mother, Ryan, how is she?”

“She’s okay. She still thinks you’re a deadbeat.”

“If only she knew, or believed.”

“Where did my dad go?” Char asked him.

“He had to chew out some recruits for using the mirrors to sneak out this morning.”

I grinned at Feather. “Must be Sentret and the others.”

“I’m going to go look for him,” Char said. He turned around and walked west.

“This isn’t fair!” I heard Sentret yell out from across the field. “We never get to get out of here!” She stomped towards us, muttering. With her was Twilight and Wobert.

“What’s wrong, Sentret?” I asked her in a slightly smug voice.

“We fell through the mirror this morning and Circe gets on us about it.”

“You snuck through it while the rest of us were sleeping,” Twilight snapped at Sentret. “Wobert insisted that we go get you because you didn’t know where you were going. Did I want to listen to him? No. Did Magic want to listen to him? Hell, no!”

“Geez, what’s wrong with you, Twilight?” Ryan asked her.

“Twilight doesn’t like getting into trouble, the wuss,” Sentret muttered.

“Sentret!” Twilight shouted. “You wouldn’t like getting into trouble either if you had to put up with Master Magma all the time! And you do, let me remind you! Honestly, my attempts to teach you some sense fail completely! One of these days you’ll get in some trouble that will have permanent, and perhaps fatal, consequences!”

“Please, one chew out a day is my limit.”

“Sentret, you couldn’t go half a day without a chew out! Let’s go, Wobert. I’m getting tired of this Pokemon.” She stalked back across the field, Wobert following while looking back at us.

“Oh man. What have I done?” Sentret whimpered, her ears drooping.

“Don’t worry, Sentret,” Feather said softly. “Twilight just needs some time to cool down. But you do need to work on restraining yourself from going on these little adventures of yours.”

“You’ve done this before?” I said in amazement.

Feather cleared her throat. “The Aurora Mirrors are usually kept in the Midnight Caves. The Midnight Caves are like a maze; most Knights need a guide just to get to them. Sentret didn’t know when she first came here, and was lost down there for a while.”

“So what’s this one doin’ up here?” Static asked.

“I believe they are brought up to the surface to be polished and checked for cracks. What I want to know is why it was here for so long.”

“Ahoy there!” roared a voice. It was coming from the direction Char went. Coming our way were two Charizard: Char and the one we saw in the mirror. Alongside them were an Ampharos and a Rhydon.

“Oh no, it’s Master Magma and son,” Sentret groaned.

“Why do you call him Master?” I asked him.

“We call all of the teachers here Master. He may usually stay in the Charicific Valley, but when he comes here, he’s instantly the boss. Of the fire types, at least.”

“Two words: eye patch,” Static whispered at me.

I couldn’t help but giggle at Static’s comment.

Prof. Steele ran towards Magma. “It’s so nice to see you again, friend. When was the last time?”

“I believe it was when young Ryan was born,” he bellowed. His voice was so deep you could here it vibrate in your chest, like hearing the bass from speakers during a rock concert. Now I know why everyone respected him. But I would find more reasons later.

“Speaking of young Ryan…” Prof. Steele started. He signaled Ryan to come. Ryan looked like he was hesitating.

“You’re such a baby, Ryan,” I teased. He glared at me for a second and then let his expression soften. He walked to Magma, carrying Cinder with him. I followed the two with Static walking beside me.

Magma looked down at Ryan, occasionally sniffing at him. Ryan stood still with his eyes closed. “This is your son, alright. He has that Arcanine scent.”

Static and I giggled. “Who let the dogs out?” we said together.

“Exactly what I want to know,” Magma said in a loud, regal voice. Static and I instantly stopped our giggling and froze, looking down at the ground. I felt him breathing on my scalp. I expected something warm and liquid to run down my legs, but it never happened.

“You reek of Raikou’s scent,” he growled. “I was afraid he would have his blood running through your veins.”

Does this guy have something against Raikou? Or maybe with me? I didn’t want to ask him; he’ll probably go into a rage.

“But I will trust his judgment for now,” he ended. He withdrew from me.

I gave a sigh of relief. Okay, so it’s not me.

The Ampharos stepped forward. Around its neck was a bright yellow Aurora Crystal, the same color as the glow of my Key. “You’re the new owner of the Light Dragon Key? It is an honor to meet you.” She did a little bow. “My name is Beacon, navigator of the Midnight Caves, caretaker of the Aurora Mirrors, and local scholar of human technology.”

“Nerd,” Static said under his breath.

She turned to Prof. Steele. “I apologize for relocating the mirror without your knowing. I completely forgot that I was to report to Miner after I was finished with polishing and examining the mirror.”

“For crying out loud! You’ll forget your head if it wasn’t screwed on!” the Rhydon exclaimed. “I’m glad your human friend’s taking you with her to Ecruteak College so I can get something done right around here.” Around his neck hung an amber colored Crystal.

“Who are you?” Ryan asked the Rhydon, slight anger in his voice.

“I’m Miner. I’m the boss of the holders of the Terra Crystal. What’s Terra, you might ask? It’s Rock, Ground, Steel, and Fighting. I’m also the boss of the Midnight Caves, and you shouldn’t be raising your voice to me, boy. I’m of the same rank as Magma.”

Static and I gulped.

“How big are those caves?” Ryan asked Miner.

“Let me put it this way: I’ve been in there for nearly thirty years and still haven’t seen all of it. I’ve seen some sealed passageways and even some underwater entrances. Luckily we don’t need the entire cave; you don’t have to go down very deep to find the Mirrors. Beacon and her human have been examining the raw Crystal down there.”

“There’s Aurora Crystal down there?” I said.

“Yep, unaltered and unused. Well, some of them are unused. Some of them are ‘secondhand’ Crystals that have returned here and fused together after their owner dies. I’ll tell you more later; right now I have to take this mirror to where it belongs. Come on, Beacon.” He lifted the mirror and carried it back towards the caves, Beacon following him.

“What’s wrong with that Miner, talking to Beacon like that?” Ryan seethed.

“He has a short temper, that’s all. I almost know how he feels; Beacon is a little clumsy and forgetful,” Char said.

“Why would you make someone who is clumsy and forgetful a navigator of a complex system of tunnels?” I asked.

“That’s why he’s so short-tempered.”

“Surprisingly, Beacon has never gotten lost in those caves before. It’s just other things that she forgets or messes up,” Feather commented.

“Now to a question that I’ve been dying to answer ever since I saw you, Professor,” I said. “How do you tie in with the Aurora Knights and Magma?”

“I found my Crystal in the woods when I was a little boy. My father, whom everyone considered as eccentric, said he knew what it was. He didn’t tell me precisely what it did; he just said it was magic. I didn’t believe him at first until I started hearing Pokemon talk. Everyone except my father thought I was crazy.”

“I know the feeling,” I said.

Prof. Steele gave a small chuckle. “I only got crazier when I discovered my father’s Aurora Mirror, the mirror that’s in Ryan’s attic. My father caught me staring at it and told me to tell the mirror to take me to the Aurora Valley. I said that he was crazy, but I did it anyway. The reflection of the mirror changed before my eyes. The next thing my father told me to do was to walk through it. I asked him if he thought I was Alice in Wonderland or something. He laughed and pushed me through the mirror. That was when I met Magma. That was when I learned what the Crystal was and what that meant for me

“Magma was this tough Charmeleon that was learning the ways of the Aurora Knight, even though he was sure they didn’t exist anymore. He said that the Crystals were all that was left of this thousand-year-old war. His father told him that the Umbra Demons would always exist, so the Aurora Knights would always fight them. If they didn’t, chaos would engulf the planet and beyond. He thought that the Umbra Demons that did exist were weak. He told me not to worry and carry on with my life.

“Magma inspired me to train fire-types. I took over as gym leader of Fuji City at the young age of fifteen to support myself when my father died mysteriously. I always remembered to visit him from time to time. When I asked him to let me be his trainer, he refused. He was devoted to training to be an Aurora Knight, even though he thought it was useless.

“The trials began when I decided to tour the Johto region when I was nineteen. I met your mother in Ecruteak City and fell in love with her instantly. I didn’t want to go back to my home, so I had my things moved to her house. I didn’t visit Magma for a year.

“A year later, I went through the mirror once more. Magma was very angry at first, but he got over it. The first news he told me was about his mate, Charlotte and her expected child. Unlike Magma, Charlotte wasn’t an Aurora Knight. He was also almost ready to take over his father’s position as leader of the Flame Aurora Knights. He said that so loudly that he got his father’s attention. I was about to officially meet his dad for the first time.

“The conversation between Magma’s father and me was nothing more than a game of 20 Questions. Where did you get the Crystal? How long have you had it? Does it work? Are you sure you’re a human? After we were done with the game, he demanded that I officially join the Aurora Knights. I said no; I was happy living my life with my loved one. Magma agreed. He said we were both fools; one day we would regret our decision. That is, he said that after he overcame the shock from the news of Charlotte’s pregnancy. I went back to Johto while Magma went to his birthplace at the Charicific Valley. Magma’s father pretended that neither of us ever existed. Magma and I didn’t see each other again for five years.

“It was the night of your birth, Shonta. Even though I didn’t make contact with Magma for a while, I didn’t forget him. Or the Aurora Knights. Or what Magma’s father said to us on that day. I noticed that your mother didn’t exactly like your father, but she was still looking forward to your birth. Shonta, your birth triggered the disaster that Magma’s father was preparing for. The night of your birth Aurora Crystals were spread across the world. The night after Magma’s father was killed by the Umbra Demons. On the lighter side, your mother was glad that your father was nowhere to be seen on that night. I knew better.

“The night before your birth, Ryan, was where I felt the most pain. I found a blood soaked Charmeleon in front of the mirror cradling a Charmander.” He turned to Magma and Char. “Magma told me that the Umbra Demons killed Charlotte. My son and I were next.”

Magma spoke up. “I told him that his wife would have the baby the next night, but she must not have it in Ecruteak. I commanded him to go to the next city and stay there until she had Ryan. But first, I wanted him do something else: give the baby named Rebecca Shonta Jones the Light Dragon Key. He was to receive it from none other than Raikou.”

I held my breath. This is how I was connected to Raikou.

Prof. Steele continued. “Raikou was only slightly surprised that the new owner was going to be a human, so he told me to cut him with the Key and cover it in his blood. When I asked him the purpose of it, he threatened to kill me.”

“That sure sounds like him,” Cinder whispered.

“I did what he told me to do, then gave you the Key while I was babysitting for your mother. Your body absorbed it, proving you were the owner of the Key. I went back to Magma and assured him that it was done. What he said next nearly killed me. He said to leave Ryan with his mother and accept my duties as an Aurora Knight. He didn’t want me to end up like him, losing his family.

That’s what could happen to Talon.

There was a long moment of silence before Char broke it. “Dad usually watches over the Charicific Valley, but I don’t like staying in one place for a long time,” he said. Another moment of silence. I was seriously regretting asking that question. Not only did Prof. Steele and Magma depress me, I still had big questions to ask.

“Is there a bottle of Prozac in the house?” Static suddenly shouted out.

classy_cat18
18th August 2005, 11:43 PM
Normal Knights Clash

“Excuse me, but what you’re doing is a little backwards,” I said after Static’s comment. “You guys should protect your families with this power, not alienate yourselves from them. If I knew that Umbra Knights are coming to kill my mom, I would stay by her side. Why did you stay away from Ryan when he was so young and vulnerable?”

“I came by every now and then, but as long as he didn’t have his Crystal, he was safe,” Prof. Steele explained. “Different Umbra Demons have different motives. Rogue Umbras usually just follow a path of destruction, while some act in groups and try to avoid having future Knights breathing down their necks, so they destroy them as soon as they have word that the recruits have their Crystal. They usually don’t destroy a Knight’s relative unless they’re in the way.”

“So those little outbursts that my Key gave led the Umbras to me.”

“Fortunately, it also led us to you,” Feather said.

“How do you know who has a Crystal, or where they are?”

“It’s a little hard to explain, so we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

A Pokemon that I recognized as a Medicham walked to the group and tapped Magma on the back. “Sir, we’ll need for you and your guests to clear this area. It’s time for daily practices.”

Magma turned towards him. “That’s right. Who’s practicing today?”

“Right now, it’s Normal-types first with Master Leo, followed by Psychic-types with Trainer Circe. Human Knight Riku should be here soon, and Beacon reported that her trainer Kanna possibly will be viewing practice today.”

I could’ve sworn I heard Ryan groan at the sound of Riku’s name.

“Excellent! Sentret, your punishment will be double the laps that Leo instructs you to do after practice.”

Sentret’s ears drooped. “Yes, sir.”

“What does he mean by that?” I asked her.

“Master Leo makes us do laps at the start of practice. I have to do the laps at the start of practice and do double that after.”

“Ouch.”

“Thank you, Roundhouse,” Magma said. He and the rest of us walked to the shade of some nearby trees. Feather perched on the lowest branch while the rest of us sat down. I noticed that the area that we left had shorter grass than the area around it. The practice field looked almost exactly the size of a standard Pokemon battle field.

“Roundhouse? Where did they get that name?” I asked Ryan.

“Oh, you know, like a roundhouse kick,” he answered.

Sentret watched Twilight, Magic, and Wobert walk out of the trees to the field. “I have to go. I’ll see you guys later.”

“Knock ‘em out!” Static yelled. Sentret ran to Twilight and said something to her. Twilight smiled and continued walking. I noticed that an Espeon was following her closely, glaring at Sentret.

“Who’s that?” I asked Char and Feather.

“That must be Apollo, Twilight’s brother,” Char said.

“Brother?”

“Adoptive brother. He’s very protective of her. I heard that when Twilight ran off after Sentret, he was waiting at the mirror with a very ticked-off look. He’s Riku’s right-hand Pokemon.”

“Wait a second. I remember them. I couldn’t see well, but Riku must’ve been the one that took Ripper’s Umbra Crystal away from me. Apollo was the Pokemon with him.”

“That Riku is a mystery. We didn’t know anything about him until he walked through one of the mirrors last year, KO’ed Beacon, and demanded to speak to ‘whoever was in charge’. He was wearing the Dark Phoenix Key back then and he knew how to use it, too. He’s one scary Psychic-type.”

“What does he smell like?”

“I have no idea. Let’s just watch the practice, okay?”

The Normal- and Psychic-Types lined up and sat down. I could recognize Sentret, Twilight, Wobert, Magic, and Apollo, but there were a few Pokemon I haven’t seen before. One was a very dignified looking Jigglypuff, then there was an energetic looking Eevee, and another was a very tired looking cresent moon-shaped Pokemon. I know my Johto and Kanto Pokemon, but this Pokemon probably came from either Hoenn or Neo. I knew some Hoenn Pokemon, but Neo was entirely new to me. I decided to ask Feather this time since I asked Char enough questions to last for a while. “Hey Feather, what’s with that Pokemon over there?” I pointed to the crescent moon-shaped Pokemon.

“That’s a Lunatone. They’re native to the Meteor Falls in the Hoenn region, and they’re psychic/rock. But that one’s supposed to be asleep. He doesn’t function well during the day. Guess Circe doesn’t know about him.” She covered her beak and giggled.

Two more Pokemon walked out of the trees: a Gardevior and a Persian. The Gardevior walked in front of the Pokemon and casually looked at them while the Persian sniffed at each one, nodding every time he sniffed a Normal-type. I noticed that the Persian had milky-white eyes.

“Umm, Feather? Is that Persian…,” I started.

“Blind? Yeah,” she answered.

“No way. That guy’s nose must be good,” Ryan said.

Magma waited until the Persian was done before walking to him. “Mind if I address the recruits, Leo?”

“Not at all, sir,” Leo replied. He sat beside the Jigglypuff.

“Aurora Knight recruits; I am Master Magma, leader of holders of the Flame Crystal. I would like to welcome you to Aurora Valley. I am aware that many of you had to undergo a long, tiring journey here. Make yourselves at home. Before I leave you to your practice, I must make a few announcements.”

“Hey Shonta, does this guy sound like Professor Dumbledore or what?” Ryan whispered to me.

“All recruits are forbidden to enter the Midnight Caves without supervision from Beacon or any Terra Knight. Anyone who uses the Aurora Mirrors without permission will be punished.” He seemed to be glancing at Sentret as he said this.

“Harry Potter flashback,” I whispered.

“We will be looking for a Psychic-type recruit to accompany Riku to college,” he continued. “This will be excellent opportunity to train outside of the valley. Of course, they still will be required to attend practice here. They will also be accompanied by Apollo.” I saw Magic grin at this.

“Finally, I want to introduce the two newest Human Aurora Knights. Ryan Steele is a promising Flame Knight and this is…” He looked at me with a puzzling eye. “You there! What’s your name?”

“It’s Shonta Jones, sir!” I said loudly.

“Anyway, she is the holder of the Light Dragon Key.”

Everyone looked at Ryan and me. “Hello,” they said casually.

“Hello, all youse happy people!” Static yelled out. Cinder just groaned and shook his head.

“That’s all I can of right now. Enjoy practice.” He returned to us, and Leo took his place in front of the Pokemon.

“All Normal types, two laps around the practice field and line up on the opposite side,” he commanded. The Normal-types did as he said, immediately standing up and running along the edge of the field. Twilight and the Eevee were side-by-side in front with Sentret close behind. The Jigglypuff lagged in last place. As the first three Pokemon passed us, however, I saw something strange floating right in front of Sentret, something red.

“Hey Ryan, look behind Twilight,” I said.

“You mean Sentret?”

“No, between Twilight and Sentret.”

His eyes squinted. “Yeah, I see it. What is it?”

“Whatever it is, it’s gainin’ up on foist place fast,” Static said while the recruits reached the far right end and turned, blocking our view of the red object.

“It looked almost like a zigzag stripe,” Cinder said.

The recruits were now on the other side of the field. “Do we know any Pokemon that have a zigzag stripe?” I asked. “Wait, I remember hearing about a Normal-type Pokemon called Kecleon. It can turn invisible!”

“What’s with the stripe?” Ryan asked.

“I don’t know.” I watched the stripe just stay right behind Twilight and the Eevee and suddenly disappearing behind Twilight. A few seconds later Twilight wiped out as she was reaching the upper left corner. The stripe was now neck-and-neck with the Eevee, leaving Twilight sitting in the grass with a puzzled look on her face. Sentret stopped beside Twilight and said something to her. Twilight looked at her and continued with her laps.

Eevee and the stripe were approaching us for the second lap when Eevee suddenly took a spill like Twilight did. I heard laughing as the stripe passed us. The Eevee wore Twilight’s puzzled look for a while and then turned furious. “Master Leo, Kame tripped me!” the Eevee shouted as Twilight and Sentret ran to it. It took a Jigglypuff a while to catch up to the rest.

The stripe stopped as the Kecleon reappeared. “Come on, T.T! No one likes a crybaby!”

“I’m not a crybaby! You’re a cheater!” T.T. yelled back. “Face it! You tripped Twilight, too!”

Although Leo clearly wasn’t looking at them, he certainly knew where they were. He walked to Twilight and Sentret. “Is this true, Kame?” he calmly asked.

“No! This baby’s a liar!” he angrily shouted.

“I’m not a baby!” T.T. yelled with tears in his eyes.

“So you agree that you’re a liar?” Kame asked with a smug look.

T.T. growled and attempted to Quick Attack Kame. Kame calmly stepped aside, dodging T.T.’s attack. Unfortunately for him, he kept his back to T.T., which left his curled-up tail open to attack. T.T bit it as hard as he could. Kame let out a yelp of pain and started to run around the field, turning in tight circles in an attempt to shake T.T. off.

“Oh dear, we must help them!” the Jigglypuff said in a British accent.

The other Pokemon just stared at the dueling duo. “Yeah, we should,” Sentret said dully.

“I want to help, but I can’t stop watching,” Twilight said in a dazed voice.

“Master Leo, get him off of me!” Kame screamed as he ran. “Stop him before he rips my tail off!” He started to roll on the ground, but that only made both him and T.T. dirty.

Leo ran to Kame and gave one of T.T.’s ears a quick nip, making him let go of Kame. T.T. stood there rubbing his ear while glaring at Kame, tears still in his eyes. Kame rubbed his tail while glaring back. Leo picked T.T. by the scruff and carried him to the opposite side of the field. “Everyone line up!” he said after he set T.T. down. Ryan and I followed them to get a better view of the Normal-type group.

“But sir, what about laps?” the Jigglypuff asked as she ran with the group.

“Your blood’s already pumping from all of that useless fighting. Kame, you need to be respectful to others. T.T., you need to control that temper of yours.”

“You need to grow up, too,” Kame grumbled while nursing his tail.

“Kame, what did I just tell you? Anymore disrespect from you will result with my teeth sinking in your tail! Let me remind you that a Persian’s teeth are designed to tear apart flesh.”

“Sorry, sir,” he said meekly.

Leo took a deep breath. “Humans, sit next to T.T. I’m sorry that you had to see these recruits act so childishly.”

“Hey, they are children,” I said. “Plus we acted like that when we were that age.”

“You acted like that. I didn’t,” Ryan said.

Static and Cinder ran to join us. “Who’s the Jigglypuff?” Static asked.

The Jigglypuff stood in front of us and curtseyed. “I am Princess Cuddles. Enchanted to meet you.”

Static fell out laughing. “Oh boy! That’s a riot!”

Princess Cuddles puffed up with anger. “You dare laugh at royalty?” She approached Static and gave him a Doubleslap, curtseying after she was done.

I barely managed not to laugh, but I still decided to play along. “Where are you from, Princess Cuddles?”

Her anger disappeared. “From the Kingdom of Jigglypuff Peace and Love!” she gleefully answered.

Ryan, who was trying his hardest to keep a straight face, was now laughing himself tearful. Along with me. And Cinder. I bet Static would have been in the same situation, but his face was probably still stinging from the Doubleslap. Speaking of Doubleslap…

“Ow!” the three of us laughing hyenas said after we got what was coming to us. Princess Cuddles curtseyed again and returned to where she was sitting.

“She can’t be a real princess,” Cinder groaned.

“She is. It’s hard to believe but she is. She doesn’t have a castle or anything, but she’s really in charge of a kingdom,” T.T. said.

“Are these really my students?” Leo asked himself while looking to the sky. “What did I do to deserve this?” He took another deep breath. “Let’s do a few practice battles. Princess Cuddles and Sentret, you’re up first.”

“Uh oh. Shonta, what time is it?” T.T. asked me.

“It’s almost two on my watch, but I think I’m two hours ahead,” I said.

His ears drooped. “Oh no, this won’t end well.”

“Why?”

“You’ll see.”

The two Pokemon took their places at the center of the field, staring each other down. “Are you ready?” he yelled at them.

“Yes, Master Leo!” the two Pokemon yelled back.

“Then begin!”

Sentret quickly jumped back and started with a Rollout. Princess Cuddles jumped out of the way and stood still, waiting for Sentret to come back around. As Sentret closed in on her, she inhaled very deeply and puffed herself to the size to twice the size of the rolled up attacker. She braced herself as Sentret rolled into her. The impact with the balloon Pokemon sent Sentret flying in the opposite direction. She landed on her back and stayed there for a second.

Sentret sprang up. “Alright! You got game! Let’s try another approach, shall we?” She started running forward, but Princess Cuddles stopped her.

“What time is it, dear human friends?” she asked us.

“It’s twelve o’clock!” I yelled back.

“Oh goody! It’s time for tea!” She started walking towards the Psychic types.

“Where are you going?” Sentret yelled out.

“It’s time for tea! You’re quite welcome to join me!”

“We have a battle to finish!” She was pulling her ears and stomping on the ground.

“Tea now, battle later.”

I teardropped. “Ookay,” I said. Static was covering his eyes.

Sentret gave a yell of anger and stomped off of the field. Leo growled loudly and started to curse. “AARGH! THAT’S IT! CLASS DISMISSED!” He ran off towards the cave, shouting obscenities along the way. He passed by a human girl who was staring at him while she walked towards us.

“What’s with Leo, T.T.?” the girl asked him. She wore her long, brown hair in a braided ponytail. Her light blue eyes were framed with matching eyeglasses. She also wore a big T-shirt with baggy blue jeans. Around her neck was a shocking yellow Crystal, but the thing that caught my eye was the computer bag that was slung over her shoulder.

“Princess Cuddles left to have tea, but she did it in the middle of a battle.”

“Oh boy.” She sat next to me and smiled. “I guess the Psychic types are next, then. By the way, my name’s Kanna. You must be Shonta Jones. Who’s your friend?”

“This is Ryan Steele, the newest Flame Knight. What kind of Crystal is that?”

“This is the Shock Crystal. Let’s sit back and enjoy the show, okay?”

classy_cat18
19th August 2005, 04:26 PM
Going Psychic

“Something tells me that Leo needs a heavy dose of Pokenip,” Static said.

“Oh, I’ve heard that they have a whole bunch of that in the flowery field behind us,” T.T. said. “The others told me to watch where I sniff.”

“So why did he head off towards the caves?”

“I guess so he can roar his head off.”

“Hey T.T., we’re going to the other side of the field,” I told him. Ryan and I along with Kanna rushed to the opposite side. Static followed us, pushing Cinder in front of him. I looked around and sat next to Magic, who was on the far side of the row. He appeared to be sleeping. In fact, everyone was sleeping; even the Gardevoir was leaning against the tree with her eyes closed. Psychic types weren’t like Normal-types; they needed to conserve their energy as much as possible. Turns out Magma and Char also needed their Z’s as well, since they were sleeping side-by side. Feather flew to the branch nearest to us.

“Circe, Leo’s done with practice,” Ryan said to the Gardevior, tapping her on the shoulder. Circe opened her eyes and stood in front of her students.

“Magic and Eclipse, you’re up first,” she said. Magic and the Lunatone woke up, but the Lunatone refused to budge. He just looked around sleepily and went back to sleep.

“Eclipse, wake up,” Circe said loudly.

Apollo, who was awake now, slowly walked to Circe. <Circe, it is clear to me that your new student is more nocturnal as the rest of your students. I advise you to move practice to nightfall in the future; right now Magic can spar with the Wobbuffet.>

“What’s with Apollo? Is he the boss of Circe or something?” Ryan said with his eyes narrowed.

“No, he’s of the same rank as Circe,” Kanna said. “But the Knights give him respect that I usually only see Magma and the other Masters receive.”

<There’s one more thing that I would like to point out,> Apollo continued. <Your new student is missing half of his Crystal.>

“What did he say?” I said. I rushed over and checked out the Crystal that hung around Eclipse. It looked more like the Crystal that hung around Talon’s neck with the swirling colors and the milky texture, only it was purple with black and gray swirls. There was one problem: it was only half a Crystal.

Circe’s eyes showed signs of concern. “Where’s the other half, Eclipse? Eclipse?” She waved a petal-like arm in front of one of Eclipse’s closed eyes. There was no response.

<It seems that without the other half, the Ecliptic Opal is useless,> Apollo remarked.

So that’s what it’s called. I went back to where I was sitting.

“We can send out for a search this evening. Right now let’s have Magic and Wobert on the field,” Circe instructed. Magic casually walked to the center of the field, but Wobert stayed where he was.

“Is there a problem, Wobert?” Circe asked him sternly.

“Well, it’s just, um, I haven’t battled a lot. I may embarrass myself.”

“That’s why we have practice. You’ll do fine.” She gave a small smile. Wobert waddled to the center of the field and faced Magic.

Circe’s voice transferred from normal to telepathy. <This match will be between Magic and Wobert. One-on-one, no time limits, no intentional uses of Aurora Crystals.>

“Nice gym match routine,” I commented quietly.

Kanna took out her computer and turned it on. “Let’s get some data on these two.”

“What kind of data are you going to get from that laptop?”

She took out a small camera. “Feather, can you help me out?”

“Sure!” She flew down and allowed Kanna to attach the camera to her neck, then flew back up and hovered over Magic and Wobert.

Kanna looked at me, reading my confused expression. “Speed, reaction time, and a streaming video of the battle in a bird’s eye view. I’ll add the extra little details myself.”

Magic started at a run away from Wobert, stopping at the edge. He stretched out his arm forward. His whole body started to glow red, even his now open eyes. The psychic energy surrounding him concentrated in his outstretched hand and shot out in a wide beam.

“Is that his…Psychic attack? Or is it Psybeam?” Ryan asked.

Wobert panicked for a split second and glowed a light blue. Magic’s attack raced toward Wobert but stopped at the last second and boomeranged back. Magic ducked and covered, allowing the attack to shoot past him and hit rock on the other side. Circe watched with great interest, but Apollo almost looked bored. The Pokemon on the sidelines cheered on the battlers.

“Dat’s what I call startin’ da party wit’ a bang!” Static yelled excitedly.

Kanna started to type on the keyboard. “Wobert’s a little slow on the rebound, but his reflecting abilities are almost excellent. But I’ve never seen an Abra doing any attack other than Teleport.”

Wobert was slightly shaking, but he kept his eyes on Magic. Without warning, the eyes flashed like a camera taking a picture. Magic was knocked on his back.

“What was that?” Ryan yelled out before I did.

Apollo smirked, his tail swishing in the grass. <Pursuit. The Wobbuffet can use Dark-type attacks. Very interesting.>

Magic sprang up and started to run towards Wobert, but occasionally his head would snap back or to the side as if he was being punched. That’s when I remembered that in some cases, Pursuit was a continuous attack.

“A Wobbuffet using Dark-type attacks! This is astounding!” Kanna exclaimed.

“My money’s on Wobert,” Ryan said.

“Nah, Magic will lay the smackdown on him,” I said.

“Betting on the underdog, are we?”

Magic was closing in on Wobert, but he was slowing down. Pursuit was taking its toll. His menacing eyes opened again as he kept eye contact with Wobert, this time with a blue light. Stopping right in front of Wobert, Magic pushed him on his back. He had used Hypnosis on him.

“Looks like you lost the bet, Ryan,” I said smugly.

But Magic wasn’t done there. He took a deep breath and did something that I didn’t know an Abra could do: unleash an Ember attack. The attack engulfed the sleeping Pokemon in flames. That clenched Magic’s victory.

<Winner, Magic!> Circe sent triumphantly. Magic gave a triumphant shout and then fainted, definitely from Pursuit.

“This is all going in my files,” Kanna said in an excited voice while she furiously typed on her computer. “You can’t find these stats anywhere else, I’m sure.” Feather flew back down so she could return the camera.

<Kanna, do you have any empty Mind Balls with you?> Apollo asked her.

“Yes.” She pulled out two purple balls and returned the fallen Magic and Wobert.

<Get the pokeballs and follow me, Shonta.>

“Why?”

<I require your assistance.> He stood up and walked toward the caves, with me following soon after.

“Shonta, where are you going?” Ryan yelled while still sitting down.

“I don’t know. You want to come, anyway?”

<He cannot come, Shonta.>

I stopped in her tracks. “Why are you being so bossy? If Ryan can’t come, then I’m not coming.”

<If you don’t come, Magic and Wobert won’t be able to be healed.>

“Do the others know of your attitude?”

<Regardless of your type, I am still your superior. Do as I say.> He went back to walking to the caves.

“I thought we weren’t allowed to go in there.” I looked at the cave’s entrance. It started at a small decline, so at least there weren’t going to be any spelunking involved. Not for a while at least.

<I know my way to the mirrors. I’ll lead the way while you light it up.>

“How?”

<Just walk with me and the Key will light the way for us.> He entered the cave, looking over his shoulder to make sure that I was following him. I kept my eyes on the ground, making sure I didn’t crash into a small stalagmite or something. I could check out huge chunks of Aurora Crystal growing out of the cave walls and ceiling. Every once and a while I would catch movement in the corner of my eye or path that led to who knows where. It took a few minutes to get too dark to see anything with my weak eyes; this was when the Key started to glow. Everything in a ten foot radius was shown in great detail.

“Apollo, how long will it be before we get to these mirrors?” I asked him as I checked out the high ceiling. Long stalactites and even the occasional Zubat, Golbat, and Crobat were camping up there.

He chuckled. It wasn’t a nice chuckle. <Lights out,> he simply stated. The Dragon Key suddenly turned itself off. I was in the dark! I stumbled around with my arms outstretched.

“This isn’t funny, Apollo! Where are you? Once I get my hands on you I’ll…” I froze as I heard whistling from somewhere in the cave. It echoed off the walls, so it sounded more eerie than intended. What was even more eerie was that it was getting closer. I searched my mind for where I’ve heard that haunting melody from. I wished I didn’t.

“Super Mario Bros.” Great. I was stuck in a dark, unknown cave with a probably homicidal video game fan. “Whoever’s there, this isn’t funny! I want the lights back on now!”

That was the wrong thing to say. The whistling immediately stopped; now not only was it too dark, it was too quiet as well. I stood still, trying to hear or see anything. “Hello? Would a little light hurt?”

A cold, silky voice emerged from the darkness. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt.” I expected my Dragon Key to glow, but instead the Crystals around me did.

“Um…thanks?” I said. I knew that this wasn’t what I expected, but it wasn’t dark anymore, and that was good news. The bad news was that Apollo was nowhere to be seen.

“No problem,” the voice answered right behind my ear. I spun around but saw nothing. I decided that it was time to get out of here, whether or not it meant that I was running the risk of getting lost or attacked. I picked a path and started walking.

“That’s not the way out,” the voice said, behind me once again. Turning around again, I once again saw nothing but Crystal and rock. I felt my heartbeat quicken, my heart trying to burst out of my chest and get the heck out of here. I took a step back and bumped into something. Or someone.

“Let’s make this a little more romantic, shall we?” the voice suggested. The Crystals turned off, making the cave once more creepy beyond imagination. I no more feared crashing into something. I was so prepared to run out of here like a bat out of freaking hell. I was…unable to go anywhere.

“I’m stuck! No, I’m frozen! Apollo, you creep! You did this!” I had the faintest idea that Apollo wasn’t doing this. Well, not all of this. My suspicions were confirmed when a soft human hand brushed my cheek.

“Relax, Shonta. You’re not going anywhere, and neither am I.”

“How do you know my name? Who are you?” I was unable to do anything about whoever was stroking me like a housecat.

“Don’t you like playing with me?”

“I need to take these two Pokemon to get healed!”

“Don’t worry. It’s in good hands.”

That statement froze my blood. I remembered that voice! “You’re the one from the field! I saw you that night. You’re that Riku guy!”

“That’s right.” The Crystals were turned on again as the person belonging to the voice walked in front of me. That face…

“Please tell me that Riku’s not your real name,” I said with wide eyes. “If it is, then I’ll have to assume that I crossed some portal and walked into somewhere in Kingdom Hearts.”

Riku chuckled, a little friendlier than at first. “So I do look like him. Riku’s my real name, but I liked the character so much I borrowed his look.” The only thing that wasn’t the same was his clothes; he was wearing a black business suit with a black tie with black sunglasses. It was Kingdom Hearts meets Men in Black.

“Peachy. Um, could you un-freeze me?”

“Sure.” He waved his hand and released me from his Disable attack. Heaving a huge sigh of relief, I showed him the two Mind Balls. “Magic and Wobert kinda KO’ed themselves during practice.” I put them in his hand. The pokeballs gave a white glow and vanished. “Where did they go?”

“Lady Khanga works one of the Pokemon Centers where the Nurse Joy there is an Aurora Knight. She’ll take care of those two.”

“You know, I forgot something. Oh yeah, cursing you out for playing with me! What the hell were you thinking? You’re talking to someone who’s thankful that she can sit through Tales from the Crypt without having nightmares! Do you take pleasure from scaring people?”

“Not all people. Just pretty girls.” He turned around and started to walk away.

I felt my face get warm. “Oh. Wait a minute, get your $600 Ray-Ban self back here! I’m not done cursing you out!”

classy_cat18
21st August 2005, 12:03 AM
Electricity 101

“And another thing,” I raged as I followed Riku out of the cave. “Where in the world is your Pokemon? I followed him in there and he cut the lights off!”

“He’s right behind you,” he said calmly.

I looked behind me and saw Apollo smiling innocently. “I should jam that Crystal of yours up your tailpipe,” I growled at him.

<I’d like to see you try,> he sent.

“Creepy Pokemon version of a Cheshire Cat,” I murmured. I waved at Ryan, who stood up and walked over, followed by Static and Cinder.

“That didn’t take you long,” Ryan said. He glared at Riku. “What’s with the MIB suit?”

“My father’s company had an important meeting and I was dragged there. But don’t be so sour, Ryan. I come bearing gifts.”

Ryan’s expression lightened. “That’s not so bad.”

“Not for you.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a jewel. No, not a jewel, but half a Crystal. Or should I say half an Opal.

Ryan’s eyes widened. “That looks like Eclipse’s missing Opal half!”

Riku nodded and walked to the still sleeping Lunatone. Taking the other half from Eclipse, he fit the two halves along the crack. The crack vanished, making two halves one whole. He put the Opal back and returned to us. “So, what are we up to?”

“It looks like the recruits are done with practice today. Magma and Char are napping, and I don’t see Prof. Steele anywhere. Where are Circe and the recruits?”

Kanna ran over to us. “Circe got a news flash!”

“A what?” Ryan and I said together.

“Ryan, do you remember when you saw Circe suddenly stare out into space and just walk off?” Ryan nodded. “Well, that’s what happens when she gets a news flash! When someone activates an Aurora Crystal, a random Knight will briefly see through the eyes of that individual. That’s how we know where they are. Unfortunately, occasionally it’s an Umbra Demon that gets the news flash. Plus, you can sense or see the energy of the discovered Crystal from a distance.”

“Kanna, it’s not entirely random,” Riku said. “The best chance of you getting a news flash is if you hold some kind of bond with the activator. For example, Feather was the one that found out you activated your Key, Shonta.”

“Okay, but why didn’t Circe go to the mirrors to meet up with the new recruit?” I asked.

“Her news flash enabled her to just use her Teleport,” Riku answered.

I looked up in the sky. This place was so peaceful that I didn’t want to go back home. Heck, I felt like I was home. “Why don’t we do something to pass the time?” I said to the others.

“Why don’t we practice? You know, just the humans?” Riku said brightly.

I froze. They practice too? This isn’t going to go well.

Static looked at my panicked expression and cleared his throat. “’Scuse me, but my trainer doesn’t know howta fight like a Pokemon. It’s required for me ta show her da ropes before she gets in with da big boys. Or big goils.”

“Ryan doesn’t really know how to fight like a Pokemon, either,” Cinder chimed in.

“We just found our next activity,” Kanna said happily.

This really isn’t going to go well.

We sat in the middle of the training field with me facing the rest of them. Riku and Apollo decided to come watch me make a complete jackass of myself. Not that they were the ones that thought that.

“Okay, Shonta. Welcome to Fundamentals of Electric Types,” Kanna told me.

“I’m going to college already?” I half joked.

“The foist thing ya needta do is find where ya store your electricity,” Static instructed. “There are different places. I store mine in my electric sacs, which are in my cheeks.” His cheeks sparked to demonstrate.

Ryan smirked evilly at me as his hand shot to my right cheek. Luckily for him, he didn’t get shocked. “Well, they’re not in here!”

“When I do find my electric sacs, you’re in trouble,” I mumbled.

“Other Pokemon store them in their fur, like Mareep,” Kanna continued.

“We can rule that out,” I said while checking for extra hair.

“I know how we can find out! Shonta, have ya been able ta do any electric attack by will yet?”

“Yeah, Thunderpunch.”

“Then your storing method is like mine. You store your electricity in your skin.” She squeezed one of my arms lightly. I felt electricity surge through my arm and down to my fingertips, where sparks jumped from them. “Your skin and muscles are developing so you can handle all of this electricity. The first part of our lesson is done. The next part is how to control it.”

This is where I crash and burn.

“It’s relatively easy to avoid shocking anybody. Just keep yourself relaxed. If you get too tense, electricity will fly.”

“That’s easy for you to say,” I said quietly.

Feather lightly brushed her wing up my spine. I involuntary shivered and felt a prickly sensation run up my arms and spread across my scalp. Everyone except Kanna giggled and pointed at me. “What’s so funny?” I asked them.

“Your hair,” Ryan said.

I ran a hand over my hair and felt separate strands sticking straight up. “Oh boy, static electricity.” I brushed my hair back down.

“You’ll be surprised at how natural this will feel after a while,” Kanna said. Her cheeks sparked as loose strands of her hair stuck up like needles. She held out an arm and let the electricity flow down to her fingertips. Looking around, she lightly tapped Static on his tail. Static gave a yelp of surprise and glared at her.

“Ya wanna fight, sista?” he yelled at her.

“Save it for tomorrow’s practice,” Riku said coolly.

“You mean to tell me that I have to learn all of this by tomorrow?” I said in a panicked voice. My whole body started to spark.

“No stress, Shonta. Take a deep breath and extend your arm,” Kanna said.

I did what she said and felt all of the electricity concentrate in my arm. “That took a load off of my body.”

“It’s all in the voltage. Thunderpunch is stronger than Thundershock because all of the electricity is concentrated in a small area, which gives it a lot of ‘umph’ when it makes impact with an opponent.”

“I get it. So how do I get it back in?”

“Drop your arm and make sure you don’t touch anybody.” The electricity returned to storage.

“Good. Now we’re ready to learn how to do Thundershock. First, tense all of the muscles in your body. Become as stiff as possible. Have you done that?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay, now push out just a bit. You guys should back up a little just in case.”

“Just in case what?” Cinder asked.

I closed my eyes and pushed the energy out of my body. A second later I heard distant shouting. I loosened all of my muscles. “What happened?” I asked Kanna.

“You managed a small Thundershock, but you almost shocked the recruits.” She pointed to the young Pokemon who were now sitting at the sidelines to see me practice.

“Yes!” I cried out triumphantly, feeling my hair stand up again. I immediately took deep breaths to relax myself again.

“It’s hard to know if you’re doing a Thundershock, Thunderbolt, Thunder, Spark, or so on,” she continued. “It’s basically instinct, along with a little knowledge of how much voltage to give. I tend not to worry about the details. For now, all you have to worry about is how to keep the safety on that electricity of yours.”

“How do I do…whoa!” I felt pain as a Swift attack crashed into me. My electricity was on a hair trigger, and it had just been pulled. Electricity was streaking all over the place. The worst part of it was that I couldn’t stop it for some reason. I could only stumble around in a confused state, my vision partly clouded.

“Hey, what’s going on?” I heard Prof. Steele yell from the entrance of the cave.

“Dad, get down!” Ryan yelled. He ducked in time to miss being hit by one of the many runaway bolts.

“Prof. Steele, get Miner!” Kanna yelled.

The next thing I heard was the painful roar of a Charizard, probably Magma. “What’s going on?” he roared.

“I don’t know, but she won’t stop!” Kanna cried out.

I felt all kinds of feelings: anger from being sucker punched by a Swift attack, confusion from all of the shouting, fear about what was going on. The world around me was getting fuzzy. The only thing I could think of is to get rid of all of the energy. I pushed out with all of my might. Everything after that got black.

classy_cat18
21st August 2005, 06:07 PM
This chapter is in Ryan’s point of view.

Freeing the Beast, Part I

I felt helpless as Shonta started sparking uncontrollably. Something inside me told me that she would be alright if she ran out of electricity. But something else told me that that would take a while.

“We can’t go too close to her!” Riku said.

“Way ta state da obvious, Einstein!” Static said nervously.

“Can’t you get close to her, Static? Your tail can act as a ground, right?” I asked him.

“What am I supposed ta do, huh? Give her more electricity?” He looked like he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Shonta finally seemed to calm down. That is, before she decided to end the party with a bang. With a yell that sounded like one of Raikou’s roars, she sent a huge Zap Cannon towards the sky. After that, she stumbled forward and collapsed to the ground, still sparking.

“I don’t believe that she still is storing electricity even after all of that sparking and that Zap Cannon,” Kanna said in awe. “This doesn’t look good. I hope that Miner gets here soon.”

“Did someone say my name?” Miner said from the mouth of the cave. With him were Prof. Steele, Beacon, and a Sandslash. Miner approached Shonta and gently picked her up.

“Is she…” Feather started, looking ready to cry.

“No, but she looks like she’s in a lot of pain,” Miner finished. “We have to take her to Joi.”

“Joy? Like Nurse Joy?” I wondered.

“No; J-O-I,” Riku corrected. “She’s a nurse, and she looks like a Nurse Joy, but she’s the only one I know that spells her name that way. She wears her hair down, she’s younger than the rest, and she has a Kangaskhan assisting her.”

“Wow. Where does she operate?”

“At the special Pokemon Center on the Ecruteak College campus.”

“I didn’t know that the College had its own Pokemon Center.”

<It seems that you don’t know a lot of things,> Apollo sent.

“Don’t talk to my trainer that way!” Cinder angrily squeaked.

Magma and Char roared, and then all went silent. Char stepped forward. “Now, we need to stop bickering and get Shonta to that Center! Kanna, do you have that new Mini Mirror?”

Mini Mirror?

She ran to her computer bag and brought back a compact mirror. Unlike most compact mirrors that you can buy at stores, this was made with a wood that looked similar to the wood that the Aurora Mirror was made out of. On the top of it was a carving of a Dragonair.

“What does Char need wit a mirror?” Static asked.

“It’s not just any mirror. It’s called the Aurora Mini Mirror or Mini Mirror for short. Especially used for communication and transportation of small items, like minimized pokeballs.”

“Humans, follow Miner to that Pokemon Center. We’ll stay here,” Magma instructed.

Shonta groaned and twitched in Miner’s arms. I went for a closer look. Her eyes were open, but they were different. They were yellow and slitted like cat’s eyes.

“Shonta, how do you feel?” I asked her.

She opened her mouth, revealing lengthened canine teeth. Right now they only looked like a Raichu’s teeth, but I guessed that was only because she had just begun changing. “I…I…feel…AHH!” The last part sounded like a Persian’s roar. She started sparking furiously as she fought to get down on the ground, but Miner held her tightly around her waist.

“Shonta, what’s gotten into you?” I shouted.

Shonta glared at me like she was ready to attack me. Which she did. She raised an arm and swiped at me, successfully scratching my left cheek. Her eyes gave a furious yellow glow as she growled and hissed.

“Beacon, lead the way!” Miner yelled as he barely missed getting his eye scratched out. He struggled to get Shonta’s arms pinned to her sides. Shonta calmed down a little, but she still growled. “Digger, take a break before you get back to working,” he said to the Sandslash.

“Oh man, I was on the verge of finding something,” he whined.

“Take…a…break,” Miner slowly growled before following Beacon to the cave. Static walked beside Miner with his tail in the air, ready to take on Shonta’s sparks. Feather perched on my shoulder and Cinder walked close behind me, with the rest of the group behind Cinder. After going a few feet into the cave, T.T. and Twilight hurried to follow us.

“I’m the one that did the Swift attack. I thought that Shonta was challenging me, so I decided to try out the attack. I’m really sorry,” T.T. said.

“Why are you followin’ us, Twilight?” Static asked her.

“T.T. is the youngest known recruit to date, so Master Magma insisted that I accompany him.”

After our little conversation, the only thing I heard was Shonta’s growls echoing in the cave. I tried to take my mind off of the current situation by looking around the caves. Beacon’s taillight seemed to reflect off of the Aurora Crystal, giving them a beautiful sparkle.

I turned to Kanna, who was now walking beside me with her computer bag on her shoulder. “Why do they call this place the Midnight Caves, anyway? I mean, these Crystals look like they are able to give off plenty of light.”

“We usually keep it dark with the exception of small sources of light. The Pokemon that live down here don’t really like bright light most of the time. Besides, we don’t just call it the Midnight Caves; we have a more suitable name for it.”

“What’s that?”

“The Labyrinth Caves. These caves have so many twists, turns, and passages that it’s easy to get lost. So far Beacon and I probably only have seen only a small portion of the caves. There are a lot of paths that are sealed by weird doors. We’ve also discovered evidence that suggest that they may be more than one entrance to the caves.”

I turned to Riku. “Why are you still wearing your sunglasses?” I asked him.

“I won’t even dignify your question with a response,” he said coolly.

I sighed and went back to enjoying the scenery. We were now entering a large room, or whatever you call a large open area in a cave. In front of us were mirrors of all sizes. One of the larger mirrors looked big enough for Raikou to pass through, which was the perfect size for Miner.

“Whoa, Mirror City!” T.T. said in awe.

Miner walked to the Raikou-sized mirror. “Take us to the Ecruteak College Pokemon Center.” The mirror flashed and showed what looked like a doctor’s office. It was a little big to be one, though. Maybe Joi was a PH.D. I stood beside Miner and Shonta.

“Do they always know where to go?” I asked Miner.

“Yeah. Just don’t ask me how. You can tell them where it is, or who to show.”

Shonta took one look at the mirror and started to freak. She threw back her head and let out a loud roar, but this one sounded like Raikou’s roar. Two pointy ears shot out of the top of her head, and a long tail burst through her pants and thrashed wildly. Miner grabbed her tightly and walked through the mirror.

“You kids stay here while I get Joi. This kitty’s getting fierce,” he said. He walked right, leaving us in the cave.

“Is it just me, or is Shonta really turning into Raikou?” I asked.

“She’s really turning into him,” Kanna answered in a shaky voice. “It happens soon after you activate your Crystal, but it depends on how much you use the Crystal’s power.”

“So I’m going to turn into an Arcanine. What did you guys turn into?”

“I turned into an Ampharos, so I didn’t go through all of this.”

“What about you, Riku?”

“I rather not say.”

“Fine.” I watched Feather nervously puff her feathers, muttering something inaudible. “Are you going to be okay?”

“I’m going crazy!” she shouted suddenly. She flew off of my shoulder and landed on the cave floor. If she was a Zubat, she would probably be hanging upside-down on the ceiling.

Miner returned sans Shonta. Beside him stood a girl around Shonta’s size and age wearing a nurse’s outfit. She did look like the other Nurse Joys, except her hair was down.

“Follow me, please,” she said softly. We walked through the mirror and followed her out of the office and down a hallway. She opened the door to a recovery room.

“Holy smokes! Look at da size of dat ting!” Static yelled. He pointed to a Kangaskhan that was stroking Shonta’s head. Shonta wasn’t roaring, growling, or sparking. She was laughing. She was strapped to the bed and laughing.

“Um, what’s so funny?” Ryan asked.

“Nothing,” the Kangaskhan answered in a Russian accent. “We gave girl tranquilizers. She will be happy for while.”

“I’m very happy. Watch my tail wag,” Shonta said dreamily. Her tail slowly went up and down.

“How long will she be drugged?” I asked.

“I am guessing two hours. Depends on mood. Cat girl can get angry and shake drugs off. Then will be facing big angry cat.” She gave a hearty laugh.

“Don’t mind Khanga; she’s almost looking forward to the big transformation,” Joi told us.

“Which won’t be happening, right?” Feather asked hopefully.

Khanga sighed. “Change is inevitable. Although I wish cat girl was not so vicious. In old country, little girls were not so vicious; were sweet like Joi.” She lifted Joi’s hat, ruffled her hair, and put it back on.

“I’m sweet. Listen to me purr,” Shonta said innocently. She started purring loudly, something that she’s never been able to do.

“Do me a favor, lady. Next time youse want ta calm down Shonta, knock ‘er out,” Static said to Joi. “Purrin’ makes us rodents noivous.”

“Pretty soon, purring will become roaring. Then rodent will be very nervous,” Khanga said darkly.

“Isn’t there a way to stop this transformation?” I asked.

“She stopped transforming for now, but the only way to reverse it is to make her finish,” Joi said. “Otherwise, she’ll be stuck midway.”

I thought of how our mothers would react to that. Oh man, our moms!

“Don’t worry, Ryan,” Riku said. “My dad has the employees working late. Hopefully by the time they get to your house, this will all be blown over.”

“Did you read my mind?” I asked him, a little angry.

“No, just your expression.”

I looked at Shonta. She was now singing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. Feather was doing the whistling part, while Shonta was doing everything else.

T.T. walked to the bed and sat by Shonta’s side. “Shonta, I’m really sorry I hit you with that Swift attack. Please don’t be angry with me.”

“T.T., at this point Shonta can’t be angry period,” Twilight said.

“I suggest you sit in the waiting room while Khanga and I try to find a way to complete the transformation without having a legendary trashing the place,” Joi said.

“I need to check up on Artemis and the others,” I said. I turned around and heard Shonta start up the Sailor Moon opening theme. The English version.

“For cryin’ out loud, take me wit’ ya!” Static cried.

classy_cat18
23rd August 2005, 01:14 AM
Freeing the Beast, Part II

I never thought that my best friend would be going through so much before having to stress about college work. I never thought that I would be going through so much just because I was her best friend and we looked out for each other. I never thought…

“My trainer’s turning into a big cat!”

…that Artemis could be so overdramatic. She was whimpering and crying like she was at a funeral.

“Now Artemis, this isn’t helping any of us,” Reaper told her.

“Oh, let the baby cry,” Ripper mumbled before receiving a Thundershock from Static.

“She’s not dyin’ or anythin’, Artie. We just need ta make sure she turns back into a human,” Static said.

“What if she doesn’t?” Artemis sniffed.

I picked her up and looked into her red eyes. “She will change back,” I assured her. “We will have her back to normal before the day is over.”

“Not completely normal, but you’ll deal with it,” Ripper said quietly. Static gave him another Thundershock.

I put Artemis down. “We all need to watch over Shonta until she completes her transformation. She’s on tranquilizers now, but should those wear off and she gets ticked off, we’ll be having a Raikou trash our college.”

“Actually, that would be interesting to watch,” Ripper said, and then swung a claw at Static as a warning.

“Ryan, isn’t the college in Ecruteak?” Artemis asked. I nodded. “So how did you get here?”

“I’ll show you.” I led the way to the mirror in the attic.

She looked at me as though picturing me in a straitjacket. “It’s a mirror,” she simply stated.

“Show me the Ecruteak College Pokemon Center,” I said to the mirror. Reaper and Artemis looked in amazement as the mirror flashed and showed the oversized doctor’s office. I stepped through with the others following me.

“Why are the doorways so large?” Artemis asked out loud as we walked to the room containing Shonta. We walked by Khanga, who was pushing a cart containing an assortment of medical instruments. “Oh…that’s why.”

“Boy, Joi said to wait in waiting room,” Khanga grunted.

“My name is Ryan. I brought Shonta’s other Pokemon so they could see her,” I said. Artemis and Reaper bowed.

“What’s with Scizor? Is it Shonta’s as well?”

“No, he’s mine.” Ripper growled as I said this.

“Shonta is sleeping right now. Wait in waiting room.” She went back to pushing the cart. We turned around and walked in the opposite direction.

“And here I thought that Chansey were the choice assistant in Centers,” Reaper said as we walked through the doors leading to the waiting room, which was empty right now. The Knights that came here with me first looked up. Riku took one look at Ripper and instantly approached him, his eyes still behind his sunglasses.

“Another feud begins,” I heard Miner mutter.

“What are you doing here?” he and Ripper said together. Shonta’s Pokemon and I quietly backed away to join Kanna and the remaining Knights. Cinder hopped in my lap as I sat down.

“Joi said that as long as Shonta stays in a calm mood, she can complete the transformation at a steady rate and without having to go berserk,” Kanna told me.

I gave a huge sigh relief and heard the Pokemon do the same thing. “Now we have to find out how to change her back,” I said.

“Oh, that part’s easy. She just needs to tell the Key to change her back.”

Artemis decided to mingle with Twilight and T.T. “The name’s Artemis and this is Reaper. Who are you?”

“I’m Twilight and this is T.T. Are you Shonta’s friend?”

“I’m her Pokemon. Are those your Crystals?”

Twilight nodded. “Looks like we’re going to have another Eeveelution join the team.”

Apollo walked away from Riku and Ripper (who were now just glaring at each other) and started to sniff Artemis, who immediately pushed him away. “Can I help you with something?” she asked Apollo in an annoyed tone.

“Your mother’s name was Luna, an Umbreon like you. Your father was an Espeon named Zeus,” he said.

“Is he right?” Static asked Artemis.

Artemis just stood there with her mouth hanging open. I could tell that Apollo was right just by reading Artemis’s expression. “How did you know?” I asked Apollo.

“I can smell my relatives.”

“Wow, Artemis! We’re sisters!” Twilight exclaimed happily.

“But you’re a Meowth! How can we be related?” Artemis nearly squeaked from the shock.

“Your mom adopted me before you were born. I also left before you were born, so we never met before now.”

“You never mentioned your mom or your dad before,” I said.

“That’s because I only told Shonta about Mom and I’ve never seen my dad before. I just knew his name,” Artemis said, looking at the floor.

“Your father was a bit of a playboy,” Apollo commented while grooming himself. “For all we know, you could also be related to T.T.”

“Hey, my dad was a Vaporeon!” T.T. shouted defensively.

Artemis was about to say something when Joi burst out of the double doors, a panicked look on her face. “Something’s wrong with Shonta!”

“What could possibly be wrong now!?! No, don’t tell me. I don’t wanna know,” Static said.

“She seems to be in a state of rage. If she completes the transformation now she’ll probably be unstoppable!”

“Didn’t my friend say he didn’t want to know?” Cinder squeaked in fear.

Artemis was already pushing her way through the doors by the time I stood up. She and Reaper got to the door of Shonta’s recovery room long before the rest of us did. I opened the door to the room and immediately got shocked by a stray bolt, knocking me to the far side of the hall.

“Ryan!” Cinder yelled.

“I’m alright,” I grunted. Actually, I wasn’t alright; I felt like I had slowed down. Partial paralysis. “What’s gotten her so freaked out?”

“Yeah, I thought she was high on the happy drugs!” Static said.

“Feather, can you see Shonta clearly through this window?” Reaper asked her. Feather hopped on his shoulder and peered through the window.

“She looks like she’s sleeping. It could be a nightmare,” Feather commented. “She wants out of that bed badly.” She and Reaper backed away from the door.

I could only sit there as the angry yells became roars. I was hearing things break and crash to the floor. Finally I heard an awful sound; it was ripping, breaking, and crashing mixed together. I came to a scary conclusion: she was out of bed because she was too big for it.

“What’s goin’ on in there?” Static yelled, rushing through the door. He immediately rushed back out, breathing heavily. “Um, guys? Do youse want the bad news or the woise news?”

“Why don’t we just forget the news and GET THE HECK OUT OF HERE!?!” Cinder cried.

“I won’t leave her! I’m the one that made her start changing in the first place!” T.T. said.

“Static, what’s the bad news?” I asked him.

“Da bad news is dat she got too big for da bed.”

Well, my guess was right.

“Da woise news is dat…” Before he could finish his sentence, the door burst out of its hinges and crashed in the wall right beside me. Even Ripper was startled by the sight of the door; but he could not take his eyes off of the massive Raikou bursting through the doorway, sliding into us, and taking off down the hallway and toward the waiting room. Fortunately, Khanga was there to stop her and she ended up going in the other direction, which was towards us. The others quickly split up and dove to the sides of the hallway as Shonta sprinted towards the other end of the hallway and through another set of double doors. Artemis and the two bug-types gave up chasing her and stood with us.

“Joi, what’s on the other end of this hallway?” I asked her.

She was wearing a face of horror. “I was treating one of the gym leader’s Pokemon. One of his friends was in there with it.”

I heard screams coming from the room that Shonta entered. “Who wants to explain this one?” Kanna asked.

“Riku,” Ripper and I said together.

Some guy with brown hair, a purple suit, and a white cape practically flew through the doors and stopped in front of us. “What is a legendary Pokemon doing in the Pokemon Center?”

“Getting a checkup, duh,” Riku answered, sounding like a dumb blonde. Apollo chuckled.

“Don’t just sit there! We need to capture it!” the guy yelled. This made Artemis growl.

“Not in my Center we aren’t!” Joi yelled angrily. “You are going to exit this Center NOW, Eusine!”

“Isn’t anybody wondering why Shonta hasn’t followed Mr. Pokemon Master here out of that room?” Artemis said.

“I just had Gengar give it a Scary Face!” Eusine complained. “Unfortunately, that Raikou roared and sent Gengar in his pokeball.”

“Did that answer your question?” Reaper asked Artemis.

“This Pokemon is too dangerous to try to capture! We are going to take care of this problem ourselves!” Joi said.

More things started to break in the room where Shonta currently was, including the doors. More electricity shot down the hall, destroying ceiling and walls. We tried to shield ourselves from the raining shrapnel.

“Great. I don’t even think I can get up,” I grunted.

“You need to stay here, anyway,” Riku said. “The fighting should be left to the experienced.”

“What fighting?” Eusine asked curiously.

“I said get out of my Center!” Joi shouted. Khanga picked up Eusine by the collar and showed him the door.

Artemis suddenly sprang up and gave Riku a bite to the leg. “No fighting! That would only make Shonta angrier! We are going to solve this problem like civilized beings.”

“What does ‘civilized’ mean?” T.T. asked.

“It means she wants us to put our lives on the line and reason instead of fight,” Ripper groaned.

“If youse want ta try it, now’s da time. The ‘lectricity’s stopped,” Static said.

“This is what we’re going to do. Ryan, come with me. The rest of you, stay here,” Artemis instructed, starting to walk to the door.

“I can’t move, Artemis. I got paralyzed pretty badly by that bolt,” I said. She sighed and sat down, ears drooping.

“I’ll get a bottle of Paralyze Heal,” Joi said, getting up and going into her office.

“Why isn’t Shonta attacking everyone?” Twilight asked no one in particular.

“That would be a waste of her electricity. If I’m right, then the Pokemon part of her brain is in control at the moment. The first thing she’ll want to do is to get out of here. But with Miner blocking the way, that would be a problem,” Kanna explained.

Without warning, the lights in the hallway and rooms started to flicker, finally turning off. “If dat means what I tink it means, we’re in big trouble,” Static said shakily.

“That fool is feeding off of the electricity in the building,” Ripper growled. “Someone has to stop this.” He got up and marched boldly to the doorway in Shonta’s room. “Cut it out, you stupid cat!” He was answered with a mighty roar, a massive Thunderbolt, and something breaking. Something like…wall. Ripper staggered woozily back to us with a stupefied look on his face and fainted. Artemis ran through the doorway and sat down roughly.

“Artemis, is something wrong?” Feather asked her.

Artemis looked at us with wider eyes than before, shaking furiously. “L-L-Ladies and g-g-g-gentlemen, R-R-Raikou has l-l-l-left the b-building,” she stammered. “And everyone in Ecruteak knows it!”

classy_cat18
24th August 2005, 11:07 PM
Unleashed

“Oh man, we’re in trouble now,” Kanna moaned as we stared at the big gaping hole.

Joi was kind enough to give me some fast-acting Paralyze Heal, but I didn’t know if she was going to forgive Shonta for this, mindless rampage or no mindless rampage. “Oh my, my supplies…” She just stood there, looking at the damage with a blank look on her face.

“Why aren’t we going to get her?” I demanded.

“We’re waiting for help,” Riku said calmly.

I marched up and grabbed him by the collar. “I don’t get it! How can you be so calm? My best friend is now a legendary Pokemon running amok in Ecruteak City and you just sit there like it happens EVERY DAY!”

“To us, it does,” he said as he pried my hands off of his clothes.

I couldn’t calm down for some reason. “At least let me see your eyes!” I grabbed his sunglasses and looked into his eyes. I have never seen such deep blue eyes; they looked like you could drown in them.

“May I have my shades back?” Riku asked, looking a little annoyed now. I returned them to him.

“Can’t you do anything to stop her? I mean, aren’t you the owner of the Dark Phoenix Key?”

“Yes, and she’s the owner of the Light Dragon Key. Therefore, I cannot harm her with my Key and she cannot harm me with her Key. The Keys’ powers would cancel out each other.”

“So you’re useless in this matter. Am I right?”

“I see that you’re almost ready to transform; you’re getting a little hotheaded.”

“Riku, let’s not start anything. Better an Arcanine than a pompous snob like you,” Artemis said smoothly.

Apollo pushed his face in hers. “At least he’s not wreaking havoc like your trainer.”

“We are not going to save your trainer by starting a sibling rivalry!” I yelled in frustration.

“Hey Joi, youse got any aspirin?” Static asked, rubbing his forehead.

Our heads shot up at the sound of Shonta’s roar and the sight of a giant pillar of lightning. The roar was so powerful that Cinder immediately retreated to his pokeball. “The hunt has already begun,” Reaper said. “I am going to protect my trainer.”

“I’m going with you!” Feather and Artemis said together.

“We have to wait for backup, guys!” Beacon said.

“The only one that orders us around is our trainer,” Reaper said to her before flying off, followed by Feather (who was now in her Pidgeot form) and Artemis.

I noticed that Static stayed behind. “What are you waiting for?” I asked him.

“I’m waitin’ for youse ta go out there and save your girl.”

I blushed. “What do you mean by that?”

“Don’t try ta fool me; I know dat the only Knight dat can save dat damsel is youse.”

“Alright, let’s go.” I gave Ripper’s pokeball to Joi and followed Static through the hole and toward where we saw the pillar of lightning. I noticed that the city streets were deserted; everyone must have taken to their homes.

I stopped at the sound of a police siren. Officer Jenny sped by on her bike then stopped. “Excuse me, but you’ll have to clear out of here; Raikou could come by at any second.”

“That’s what I’m waiting for,” I said in a determined voice.

She closed her eyes and sighed heavily. “Listen, I know you must be a very skilled trainer, but Raikou’s too strong for you.”

I mimicked her actions. “Listen, I know you must be a very good cop, but there’s no way you can stop me.” I watched Riku creep up from behind Jenny.

Officer Jenny’s eyes went stern. “I can haul you to the station for your actions.”

Riku laid a hand on her shoulder. “You can do that after your nap,” he said coolly. He took off his shades.

“Don’t keep me…” she started as she turned to look at Riku. Riku’s eyes turned an electric blue as he did his Hypnosis attack. Jenny quickly dropped to the ground.

“She won’t remember you when she wakes up,” Riku said. “I suggest you do your part quickly. For some reason Shonta hasn’t left Ecruteak yet, but she will soon.”

I looked toward the Tin Tower and saw Feather taking off, kicking up a Sand Attack. She landed next to me with Artemis on her back. “Reaper’s down. Shonta took him out in one Thunderbolt.”

Artemis dug her small claws to keep her grip, making Feather flinch. “Attacking her will only make her angry. Believe me, Reaper found that out the hard way. And judging by the way she looked when Feather gave her a Sand Attack, she’ll be on her way really soon.”

“It was so I could get away!” Feather said in defense.

I scratched my head. I’ll have to try to talk to her, but I’ll need a way to keep her still. “Okay, this is what I want you guys to do. First, find Reaper’s pokeball in the Pokemon Center so you can return him. Then I’ll need Apollo’s help.”

Artemis blinked. “Why?”

“I’ll need a Disable attack.”

Artemis slid off of Feather’s back and ran to the Center with Static following her. Feather stayed and looked at me with a concerned expression. “I’m not very good against an Electric-type legendary, Ryan. So what should I do?”

I bit my lip. “Shonta will be after you, so you can try to lead her here,” I said.

“That won’t be necessary. Shonta has an awesome sense of smell.”

Another roar. I looked down the road, anticipating Shonta sprinting towards us at the speed of sound. She came alright, quickly yet silently. Her eyes gave an angry yellow glow. Riku dragged Officer Jenny out of harm’s way, leaving me and Feather in the middle. Shonta ran until she was only a hundred feet from me and then stopped in her tracks.

“So this is what a Raikou in Rage looks like…” I found the Light Dragon Key encased in the armor-like mask between her eyes. I kept my eyes on hers. “Aren’t you going to attack me?” Then it hit me: Feather’s her target, and she was behind me! “Feather, get out of here!”

“Not a chance!” she said. She hopped in front of me and spread her wings. “Shonta, stop this!” She was answered with a Thundershock, which knocked both of us down. Riku rushed to get Feather to safety, but Shonta must’ve thought that we were trying to gang up on her. She put herself between Feather and Riku, ready to attack Riku.

“As much as I hate that guy…” I muttered. I’ve watched Char and Cinder long enough for me to try an Ember attack. I took a deep breath and blew out, managing to blow out flames that singed Shonta’s unguarded side. Shonta gave a painful roar and turned her attention to me. “Now that I have your attention…”

She growled and raised her paw at me, but froze as she was surrounded by a blue aura. Apollo calmly stepped out from behind me and smirked at Shonta.

“When did you get here?” I asked Apollo, frustrated by his calmness.

“About the time Shonta shocked Feather. Was I too late?”

“No, take your time! I don’t mind playing the Headless Knight!” I kept eye contact with Shonta. “Cool yourself. You’re a human, now start acting like one.” An angry growl escaped Shonta’s mouth. “Don’t you talk to me that way, young lady! Otherwise you’ll stay frozen all day!”

Shonta glared at me, the Key on her forehead glowing. The blue aura around her disappeared, a sign that the Disable attack had been broken. She quickly let out a Thundershock that blasted Apollo and me back a few feet. Pain raced through me.

“What just happened?” I asked Apollo.

“Her Key’s protecting her from harm. What she’s doing is purely defense; she’ll only attack when someone attacks her first.”

“I don’t think I hurt her as much as she hurt me.” I stood on shaking feet, determined to make my best friend snap out of it. “Now who do you think you are?” I yelled at Shonta. “We’re your friends and you’re kicking our butts!”

“Why do my ‘friends’ attack me?” she growled.

I struggled to get up. “Well, your eyes aren’t glowing and you’re talking to me. How do you feel?”

She sat down and looked at her paws. “Well, weird. Maybe confused.”

“Good, you’re acting normal. Now you can change back.”

“I can’t.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know! I tried a few minutes ago and I couldn’t! I don’t want to be a legendary! That’s the real Raikou’s job!” She started digging in the dirt with her long claws.

“Don’t stress! You’ll probably go back to being in rage! Riku, what’s going on?”

“I’m not sure. The Keys have been known to act or not act of their own accord. Your Key may think that it is not time for you to return to human form.”

“Riku, I’m a legendary wannabe hanging out on the streets of Ecruteak with a crystal in my forehead and a piece of glass in my rump. I think it’s time to return to human form,” Shonta said in a strangely calm voice.

“Why would you need to stay in Raikou Mode?” I asked.

“Why doesn’t this guy have a pre-evolution!?!” Shonta nearly roared. “I’m as tall as Khanga and about three times as long! Why do I have to be exactly like him? Whoa, I feel funny.” Her body started to glow and shrink. Her teeth receded into her mouth, and her tail became long and straight. When she was through, she was about as big as a Houndoom with the build of a Persian. The fur of her body was a little shaggy. Her Raikou mane was now a black Growlithe-like mane. Her teeth were completely in her mouth, but when Shonta gave a little snarl I saw that her canine teeth were longer than they probably needed to be. She had a bit of a snout, giving her face the slight appearance of a Persian’s. Her ears were relatively long and pointy. Her body was still yellow with black spots, but her now striped tail was almost as long as her body. I saw that it had a black puff at the end, like a little explosion. Her face was fierce. The eyes were yellow instead of red, with slit pupils. The eyes had black circles around them, like she was wearing a mask. There was a diamond-shaped mark in the middle of her forehead. The Key was now attached to a gold collar that Shonta wore around her neck.

“I thought Raikou didn’t have an evolution,” I said while staring at Shonta’s new form.

Riku lowered his shades and looked with interest. “This may be a whole new form. I think Kanna knows about this Pokemon.”

I tore my eyes from Shonta and saw Kanna walking to us, Beacon by her side. Static followed her with a pokeball in his paws. Artemis walked beside him. Kanna took one look at Shonta and plopped down on the ground.

“Weird, huh?” I said to her. “Riku said that you may know this Pokemon.”

“It’s Raitah, the Wildcat Pokemon,” she whispered.

Shonta looked at her sheathed claws and her tail. “This is something. Now how do I become human?”

classy_cat18
26th August 2005, 08:49 PM
We’re going back to Shonta’s point of view.

On the Prowl

What have I done? I thought to myself as I saw an unconscious Officer Jenny and a badly injured Feather on the sidelines. Riku looked in my direction, his eyes behind his shades. “Oh man. Guys, I’m so sorry.”

“That’s okay,” Feather said weakly. “Joi can heal me. I just need to find my Aero Ball.”

I had that on my magnetic belt before I transformed. I really need a bag to carry around this stuff. “Where’s my clothes?” I asked no one in particular.

“We couldn’t find any trace of them,” Beacon said. “But if you’re worried about your pokeballs, we took them off of you when we strapped you down.”

“Shonta, you look pretty cool, especially with the Growlithe hairdo. You look like one of those Pokemon only the Elite Four can capture,” Ryan commented.

I felt my mane. It felt nothing like a Growlithe ‘do; the hair felt like it was nicely trimmed, like a Mohawk. I couldn’t tell how long it was, but Ryan told me it stopped between the shoulder blades.

“Raitah was once believed to be a prehistoric Pokemon, a species that once prowled the Neo and Johto regions back thousands of years ago,” Kanna explained as we walked back to the Pokemon Center. “The advance of human civilization almost wiped out the species, but individuals have been reported in Neo. They’re so wild and dangerous that not even expert trainers dare try to capture them unless they have a really powerful Pokemon like a fully evolved Nido or a Tyranitar around. They are now the center of an ecological issue.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“The grasslands that these Pokemon roam are disappearing quite strangely. They’re slowly turning into desert, and that’s affecting the Raitah’s prey. The areas are receiving plenty of rain, but that’s not helping things. Somehow, Char and the others think it’s something for the Aurora Knights to look into.”

“That’s a drag.” I checked out the damage of the back recovery room as I walked through the huge hole that I probably caused. I couldn’t remember everything that I did, but every now and then something painful brought me back to my senses. Which reminded me…

“Can anyone get this piece of glass out of me?” I asked, showing the others a small piece of glass that stuck out of the base of my tail. Ryan bent over and plucked it out. “Thanks. Hey, where’s Reaper?”

Static blinked at me. “Youse don’t know? Youse knocked him out a while back.” He showed me a pokeball that had Reaper’s scent on it. Somehow, Static’s scent interested me a lot more. It almost made my mouth water.

“Oh boy. Remind me to apologize to him.”

Joi walked to us with a confused look. “Where’s Shonta? I thought you would be looking for her.”

“Joi, I’m right here,” I said. I flashed the Dragon Key as proof.

She let out a gasp and squatted in front of me. “What happened?”

“Evolved, de-evolved, I don’t know. But I’m leaning toward de-evolve. Or maybe I just became a new Pokemon.”

“Maybe you can transform to other cat-type Pokemon,” Ryan suggested.

“It’s hard to say what the Keys can or cannot do, so I can’t say you’re wrong,” Riku said. “Lady Khanga, Officer Jenny is outside and unconscious. Could you take her to the station?”

Khanga nodded and walked through the hole, grumbling something about letting a child boss her around. Wonder what made her do it anyway?

T.T. laughed as he tugged at my tail. “I like this form better than Raikou! Are you going to stay like this today?”

I heard my stomach growl. “It depends if you have enough chow to feed me. Got anything in the refrigerator, Joi?”

She looked like she hadn’t overcome the shock of me wrecking her Center and then returning as a completely different Pokemon. “Uh, let me check.” I followed her to the kitchen near the front of the Center. “Here’s food that I give to Meowth and Persian. Try this.” She put something in a bowl and sat it down in front of me. It was full of brown pellets. One sniff of the stuff made my stomach flip.

What is she doing, giving me this trash? I pushed it back, trying hard not to hurl and hurt Joi’s feelings. “Sorry, but do you have something else?”

“What’s wrong with it? All cat-types love the stuff!” Joi said, sounding offended.

“No offense, but this stinks. Maybe it’s because all of the cat-types you fed are trained.” I looked around. I smelled something much tastier, and it was coming this way! I prepared to pounce.

“Hey Shonta, found somethin’ good yet? We need some chow, too!” Static said as he peeked around the corner. The hungry look on my face sent him out of the room and down the hall at breakneck speed. Listening to my animal instincts, I ran after him, trying to pin down his tail to stop him. Static darted in different directions, dodging my blows. I tripped several times trying to follow his movements.

Fresh meat! Must catch! my mind raged. However, my hunt was cut short as Miner slammed his tail into me, sending me into the room with the others. The blow was strong enough to knock me back to reality.

“What’s wrong now, youse freakin’ animal?” Static yelled at me as he hid behind Miner. Poor thing was shaking like he was in an earthquake.

My stomach still growled with hunger, but Static no longer looked or smelled appetizing. “I was hungry,” I whimpered for lack of a better reason.

“I’m your Pokemon, for cryin’ out loud! Why do youse wanta eat ME? Why can’t cha eat Riku?”

My ears drooped. I never thought that being a Pokemon could be so complicated. But I was still hungry, and I knew that I needed to hunt.

“Shonta? Is there something wrong?” Ryan asked me, seemingly shielding Feather.

I started to pace. “I need to get outside. I need to hunt!”

“There has to be a way to feed you without losing any of the Pokemon here. Kanna, what do Raitah eat?”

Kanna took something else out of her computer bag (full, huh?), pulled out a Pokedex, and pointed it at me. “Raitah, the Wildcat Pokemon,” the Pokedex chimed. “This carnivorous Electric/Dark-type Pokemon always hunts for its food with claws and teeth sharp enough to pierce ground-type Pokemon’s hides. Some individuals have a rough coat of fur to help them withstand fire-type attacks.” Kanna pressed a button on the Pokedex for more information. “Raitah’s known common prey: Rattata/Raticate, Pichu/Pikachu/Raichu (Static gulped at the sound of that one), Mareep/Flaafy/Ampharos (a gulp from Beacon), various bird-type Pokemon (Feather gulped), Ponyta/Rapidash, Stantler…”

My expression brightened. “Did they say Stantler? Isn’t there Stantler outside Ecruteak City?”

Joi looked like she was ready to bolt out of there. “Yes; they’re to the south.”

My mouth once more started to water. “Alright! Let’s go get ‘em!” I started to trot through the big hole when I heard footsteps coming from the other side. Someone’s going to see me! Instead of following my human instincts, I sat still, trying to keep my breath under control. The others stared at me for some odd reason.

Some guy wearing a white cape rushed through the hole. “Nurse Joi, are you alright?”

She kept her eyes on me. “I’m just fine, Eusine.”

Eusine? Haven’t I heard that name before?

“Is there something wrong?” Eusine asked, starting to look towards where I was sitting. A small growl escaped from my throat. “What was that?”

Twilight jumped in front of me and started growling. Eusine narrowed his eyes and turned to the rest of the group. “What about you guys?”

Ryan tried to look relaxed. “We’re cool.”

Why hasn’t he spotted me yet? Hold the phone! The Pokedex said I was an Electric/Dark-type, so that means I probably know Faint Attack! One test to see if I’m sure… I let out a loud roar that shocked everyone, especially Eusine.

Eusine frantically searched the room for the source of the roar. “Raikou’s still here!” He grabbed Ryan’s collar and shook him. “Where is he?”

Ryan eyes went wide. I could smell the sweat that was starting to stream down his face. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

I felt extremely furious at this “intruder”. “No one messes with my pride,” I growled as I crept toward Eusine. I made myself visible when I was right behind him and let out another roar, making him drop Ryan and turn around to face me.

“What is that Pokemon?” he said shakily while backing up a few steps. I could smell something new, something that should’ve been done in the bathroom. He fumbled to get a pokeball and threw it, revealing an Alakazam. “Alakazam, Psychic attack!”

“You want a challenge, weakling?” I growled. I let out another roar, sending Alakazam into his pokeball. Eusine screamed and bolted out the hole. I snickered at the way he almost tripped on his way out.

“Shonta, what’s gotten into you?” Artemis asked me, sounding very worried. Maybe even afraid. “You’re no better than when you were Raikou.”

“Yeah, and what did you mean when you said ‘Nobody messes with my pride’?” Twilight asked me.

I searched my mind for when I said that sentence. “Did I really say that?” Twilight nodded. “Man, what’s getting into me today? Maybe it’s my hunger that’s doing it. And I’m getting a little tired, too. Maybe a little hunt and a little nap will get me back to being human.” I went invisible again and sprinted out of the hole, headed for the woods south of Ecruteak. People were just now coming out of their homes, not really noticing the dirt I was kicking up. I arrived at the woods in no time. The first things I did were to go visible and sniff the ground for the scent of a Stantler. That’s when I stopped. What did a Stantler smell like? I hung my head in defeat and turned around to leave when I smelled something quite delicious. It was small and a little strong, so what was it? I sat still for a couple of minutes, waiting for the scent to get closer.

“Hey Shonta, are you alright?” I heard Ryan say from behind me. He spotted me and ran up to me, panting like he was finished running a marathon. He probably did.

He’s going to scare away my prey! I formed the words “Be quiet” with my mouth. He got the idea and crouched against a tree.

“What are we hunting?” he mouthed.

I turned invisible just before a Rattata scampered from the trees, holding a nut in its paws. I noticed that there was a lot of forest debris on the ground; the Rattata would hear me and escape. There’s more than one way to skin a rat. I unleashed a Thundershock that fully paralyzed the Rattata. It was mine. I jumped forward and wrapped my jaws around its neck, preventing it from breathing. The Rattata tried to fight back, but it wasn’t in a position to bite me or anything. Its heart slowed and eventually stopped.

Satisfied with my little kill, I started to tear into its side, enjoying the tender meat. I looked back at Ryan and saw that he was on the verge of puking. “Uh, you want to wait for me at the Center?” He shook his head and merely turned away from me. I hurried to finish the Rattata. When it was reduced to bones and unwanted organs, I saw that my prey had some sort of ribbon tied around its tail. “Uh-oh…”

Ryan looked over his shoulder. “Uh-oh what?” I showed him the ribbon. “Oh. Don’t tell me that you ate a Rattata that belonged to someone.”

In the distance rang the voice of a little girl. “Squeaky! Where are you, Squeaky?”

I swallowed hard, the taste of the Rattata turning bitter. “Let’s get out of here!” I left the ribbon, turned invisible, and walked out of the woods, Ryan following close behind.

I returned to the Center with a stomach full of Rattata and a mouth full of blood. Joi insisted that I washed my mouth off before socializing with anyone. But socializing was the last thing on my mind; sleep was the first. I curled up on a mattress in the room that I was strapped in earlier. Joi closed the Center to make sure no one just burst in on the Knights. I was sure that I would be able to change back into a human as soon as I recharged my body a little.


“Wake up, little one,” spoke a deep voice. I opened my Raitah eyes to find Raikou looking at me. We were surrounded by white; I was still dreaming.

“What is it?” I asked him, a little annoyed that he would pick today to enter my dream.

“One of your loved ones is in danger,” he replied. He closed his eyes and disappeared. That was the same with all of my dreams involving Raikou; if I didn’t burst awake in a cold sweat, he would disappear right before my eyes and leave me to an empty dream.

Suddenly the scene around me changed. It was night, and I was in somebody’s apartment. I turned my head and saw bright lights and tall buildings. I was in human form; at least, I thought I was. When I looked in the mirror, I saw that I wasn’t even me! I was Terri! No, I was looking through Terri’s eyes. She held up a deep blue Aurora Crystal. So that was why she was in danger; soon someone will come for that Crystal – and her life!

classy_cat18
27th August 2005, 09:32 PM
In Deep Water

“Shonta, wake up!” I heard Artemis say.

I jerked my eyes open and saw my human hands and, surprisingly, my clothes. My pokeballs lay beside me. It looked like Artemis was the only one with me. “Terri, she’s…”

“What about her? You’ve been muttering her name for quite a while now.” She pressed her paw against my forehead. “You feel clammy.”

I shot upright. “Where are the others? There’s trouble in Goldenrod!”

Her ears drooped. “Some of them went somewhere and told me to stay here with you. But Ryan, Riku and some of the Pokemon are here. Why do you ask?”

This isn’t good. “Artemis, Terri found an Aurora Crystal and now Umbra Demons are going to be after her. I have to get to her before they do!”

“I’ll tell the others!” She ran out the door, but I called her back. I didn’t want the whole team there. “Is Feather here?”

“Of course she’s here! She refused to go anywhere until you woke up!” She walked down the hall to the waiting room with me following.

“Let’s just wake her up, then. She’s all we need.” I peeked through the doorway and spotted Feather in Pidgey mode sleeping, her talons sinking in one of the couches. I crept up to her and poked her in the wing until she woke up. I held her beak closed before she could say anything. “I need a ride to Goldenrod.” I let go of her beak.

“Shonta, you’re back to normal! Should I tell the others where we’re going?” Feather whispered as she flew to my shoulder.

I shook my head. “We’ll probably be back before they wake up.” I walked out of the front entrance of the Center where Feather changed into her Pidgeot form. The sun was almost all the way down, which meant Mom would be arriving home soon. Artemis looked at the both of us with a worried look on her face.

“Are you sure we can’t tell Ryan about this?” Artemis asked me.

“He’ll want to come along, but we only have one flying Pokemon with us.” I pointed to Feather. I took out Artemis’s pokeball and returned her, and then mounted Feather.

“Next stop, Goldenrod City!” Feather said excitedly, taking off like a fighter jet. I could feel the G’s as she gained altitude. When she suddenly slowed down, I was nearly thrown off of her back. Which was lucky of me considering I also was close to passing out. “Sorry, thought you wanted to get there first,” she said when I moaned from the sudden motion sickness.

“There’s no way I would want to get there that fast,” I moaned. I looked ahead, seeing the bright lights of Goldenrod. “You don’t think the Umbra Demons know where Terri lives, do you?”

“Can’t say. The bright side is that even if they did know where she lived, there would be no way she would be in immediate danger as long as she stayed in her home. In such a crowded place as this, the Demons don’t want to be attracting anyone, unless the Crystal Terri found was very powerful. By the way, what did the Crystal look like?”

“It was deep blue, and I’m pretty sure it had some kind of symbol, like a raindrop or something.”

“That must be the Aqua Crystal, for the water types. Now where does this Terri live?” She glided above the rooftops slowly, giving me time to look at each one.

I found her apartment building as we approached it and pointed it out to Feather. “We can land on the roof and go down the stairs.” She landed on the roof and changed back to a Pidgey. I walked through the unlocked door and down a few flights of stairs with Feather on my shoulder. We went through another and arrived to find a horrible sight: cops surrounding the entrance to Terri’s apartment. They even had the entire hall sealed off with caution tape.

“What did you say about her not being in immediate danger as long as she stayed here, Feather?” I muttered.

“They may have been trying to flush her out.”

An Officer Jenny approached us, blocking us from the door to Terri’s apartment. “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to evacuate this floor.”

“My name’s Shonta Jones and my cousin lives in that apartment. What happened to her?”

She and her Growlithe relaxed. “Oh, so you received our message.”

They must have contacted our house. Too bad they just now installed the telephone wires there. I might as well go along with this. “Yeah. So what happened to Terri?”

She showed me the inside of Terri’s apartment, shining a flashlight around the place. The first thing I noticed was that the carpet was unusually wet. In fact, the whole apartment was soaked, not to mention that a couple of windows were broken. “Must have been one heck of an accident.”

Officer Jenny quickly put on a worried face. “This was no accident. The manager of this building received calls from people complaining of excessive noise, among them Pokemon calls and a girl screaming. Their phone lines and electricity were temporarily knocked out. One person that we found in the hallway even said he witnessed a water-type Pokemon that attacked him. At first we thought it was a side effect of the concussion, but we tossed our doubts outside when we saw all of this water damage.”

“Did anyone see if Terri escaped?” I asked.

“That’s the weirdest part about this incident. Everyone tried to see what was going on, but they said they’re doors were locked or jammed. Their keys weren’t working, so that part’s a mystery to us. But we’re leaning toward a psychic-type Pokemon.”

There’s no blood, and she hasn’t mentioned a body yet. Terri’s still somewhere out there. “Thanks for the info, Officer Jenny.” I left the cops to their investigating.

“This is just getting too weird, Feather,” I said as we returned to the roof. “Terri’s pursuers should have been spotted in a big city like this. And what about the psychic Pokemon theory?”

“I knew we should’ve stayed at the Pokemon Center,” Feather whined as we took off again. “The Knights probably already know about this.”

I looked down at the city streets, hoping that I would catch a glimpse of Terri. “I forgot I wasn’t a bloodthirsty cat anymore,” I muttered.

It took us twice as long to get back to the Center as to go to Goldenrod. Ryan was waiting for us with an upset look on his face. “Where did you go, Shonta?” he asked me.

I tried to avoid eye contact but ended up doing it anyway. “I received a news flash while I was sleeping. I saw Terri in trouble, so Feather and I went to check it out.”

He crossed his arms. “Something tells me you missed the party.”

“Yeah. How did you know?”

He pointed inside. “The party’s here. Including the host, Terri.”

Terri’s here! I sprinted inside and found Terri on one of the couches, shaking like a leaf. Beside her on the floor was Aqua, knocked out. Terri took one look at me and sprang up, looking at me with fearful eyes.

“Finally, a sane person is here! Please tell me that I’m dreaming!” she cried.

I pried her off of me, although it was like breaking free of Machamp’s bear hug. “Sorry, this is all real.”

She dropped to the floor and screamed. “What’s going on? I found this necklace in my apartment and soon an Azumarril attacked me and Aqua. Then this Drowzee – this talking Drowzee – teleported in my place and fought with the Azumarril. After he was done, he teleported me here. Then these guys and their talking Pokemon drove me crazy with all of their questions! Tell me, what’s going on?”

I kneeled in front of her and took a deep breath, ready to explain her dilemma. “You found an Aurora Crystal, Terri. This Crystal made it possible for you to understand Pokemon. Unfortunately, that’s not all it does. It has this great power, and that Azumarril went after you because it wanted that power. But we’re the good guys. We’re going to protect you from this evil.”

Terri stared at me for a moment and then laughed out loud. “Girl, you buggin’! How can this kind of thing happen to me?”

I showed her the Light Dragon Key. “It can happen to anyone, Terri. Now can I ask you a question? Did the Drowzee that rescued you carry a bell with him?”

“Yeah, he did.”

“I thought Houdini hated us human Aurora Knights. Why did he rescue Terri?” I asked Riku.

“A Knight is a Knight, no matter what his views are. Believe me; he said he’ll regret it later.” He gave a light laugh.

Terri tapped me on the shoulder. “That guy is freaky, Shonta.”

“I hear you, cousin. But he’s a good guy…I guess.”

She shrugged and went to Aqua, leaving me with Ryan, Riku, and Kanna. “We definitely need a vacation. When are we going to get a break, Kanna?”

“After you look into a matter concerning the Grand Neo Grassland. Our clients are none other than a pride of Raitah and the guardian of the Kai Flora Crystal.”

“Wait a minute, our clients? We have clients?”

“Yes, we do. When someone is a victim of a problem concerning the Aurora Crystals, we call them our clients. We have to wait until the morning, so we can go home for the night. Riku, could you take us home?”

“Of course.” He took off his shades, revealing dark blue eyes. They gave an electric blue glow, illuminating the entire Center. I was blinded by the sight.


“Shonta, didn’t you hear me? I told you to get all of your dirty clothes together.” It was Mom, talking to me like she didn’t notice that I was gone.

“Where am I?” I asked her, although I knew that I was back at Ryan’s house. Chances are that Ryan and Terri were here, too.

“Are you okay?” Mom asked me with a curious look on her face.

Not only did Riku teleport us here, he also modified Mom’s memory of today. How could he do that from such a distance? Wait; maybe it wasn’t him that modified Mom’s memory.

Terri walked to me. “Where do I sleep, Shonta?”

“You can sleep on Ryan’s bed. I’ll sleep on the floor.” We walked to the room and closed the door behind us.

“You must have a pretty strange life. I mean, you can understand Pokemon, and turn into a Pokemon yourself…” Terri said.

“They told you about my turning into Raikou and then into Raitah?”

“Can you do that again for me?”

I gave her the fish eye. “Maybe later. How’s Aqua?”

“She’s just fine, strangely. I guess that boy must’ve healed her while he was teleporting us.”

“I think it was your rescuer. So how about a trip to the Grand Neo Grassland tomorrow morning?”

She stared off into nowhere for a moment before laughing. “Why not? I gotta start somewhere!”

There was a scratching on the door. Artemis walked in as I opened it. “Hey guys, got some great news! Since the Ecruteak College Pokemon Center is wrecked, you’ll have to wait another week to start school! Plus, Shonta’s mom’s boss, AKA Riku’s dad, is treating us to a cruise around the Orange Islands! Riku and Kanna are coming, so start packing! We leave the day after tomorrow!”

“What about our clients?” I asked her.

“Riku didn’t seem to mind.” She curled up in the blanket that I was planning to sleep on.

Terri stared blankly at Artemis and then turned to me. “What is that boy thinking?”

“I shudder to think about it,” I answered.

classy_cat18
28th August 2005, 11:16 PM
Run with the Pride

“You tell her!” said one unfamiliar voice.

“No, you tell her!” said another voice. I felt pressure on my stomach as the two argued.

How come I always have to wake up to this? Like every morning before, I woke up to find Pokemon sitting on my bed, but this time they weren’t Pokemon that I recognized. Both looked like Pikachu, but they were differently colored. They were of an off white color, but one had pink on its cheeks, ear tips, and tail. The other was blue in those areas. What was weird (in a funny way) was that the pink one’s cheeks had an off-white plus sign pattern, while the blue one’s cheeks had a minus sign pattern. Their tails had the same pattern as their cheeks. They both wore Shock Crystals. “What do you munchkins want?” I asked them.

They definitely hadn’t noticed that I was awake at first as they were bickering with each other. Now their attention was on me. “Hello, Miss Shonta!” they said together. “Miss Beacon told us to give you this!” They held out an Aurora Mini Mirror. I took it from them and smiled.

“Oh, and Miss Kanna wanted you to give this to the Scizor,” the blue one added, giving me what I recognized as the Aurora Crystal that Ripper wore while he was an Umbra Demon, only it was purified.

“Thanks. What are you guys?”

The pink one stepped forward. “I’m A.C. the Plusle!” he said. “This is my little sister, D.C. the Minun.” He pointed to the blue one.

“I wanted to tell her that!” D.C. said angrily, pushing A.C. “And I’m not little! We hatched at the same time.”

“Miss Beacon said I hatched ten seconds before you did!” A.C. said, pushing her back.

“That doesn’t make much of a difference!”

“It still makes me older than you!”

I rolled my eyes. I woke up in the middle of a Rugrats episode. There’s Phil and Lil right in front of me. Thank God the rest of the crew’s not here. “Okay, thanks for the stuff. You should go back to Kanna and Beacon.” I set them both on the floor and watched them walk towards the attic.

Terri walked in shortly afterwards, her eyes toward the attic. “Girl, you gotta tell me where those two came from.”

“The Aurora Mirror that’s up in the attic. We’ll be using it today.” I got out of the bed and started getting my clothes together.

“We!?! As in you and me?” she asked me with a shocked look on her face.

“And Ryan. You’re one of us, remember?”

“Not anymore! Girl, you buggin’.”

“Fine, stay here. Sure, I agreed that we needed to let the Demons know that you’re with friends, but you can always stay here and face who knows what.”

She sighed. “Okay, where are we going?”

“The Grand Neo Grassland, home of the Raitah. Kanna said something about the grassland turning into desert, and that the other Knights think it has to do with the Aurora Crystals.” I looked at her confused face. “Just follow us and you can ask questions along the way.”

“I want to ask you one now: why me?”

I shrugged. “I’m not sure. At first I thought it was genetic, but then I remembered that both Mom and Dad were born in America. So were you. So I guess we merely won the Aurora Knight lottery here.” I gave a small laugh.

“Why couldn’t I win money? Now I’m going to turn into a…a…I have no idea.”

“Whatever it is, you better pray it has legs. Now let me get dressed so we can go get this done.”

“Look who’s the boss,” she grumbled as she walked out.

Another morning, another bunch of questions to ask. For one, is this little ball of light alive? It seems to be protecting me, yet I’m keeping the bad guys from getting it. We protect each other. I sighed as I slipped on my socks. Why did I go from Raikou to Raitah yesterday? Maybe they have some connection other than their similar appearance. I walked out of the room and outside to see the usual scene: Reaper and Ripper sparring while everyone else watched. I need to start training the rest of my Pokemon.

Terri looked at me from her spot on the porch. “Does anyone know about these friends of yours?”

“Yeah, but we’re Pokemon trainers. Let’s go, everyone! Anyone who wants to go in their pokeballs should do so now!” I was stopped by a muffled voice that was coming from my pocket. I reached in and pulled out the Aurora Mini Mirror. As I opened it, I saw Kanna’s cheerful face.

“Hi! I wanted to give you some last minute details. The Raitah are very territorial, so I suggest everyone that isn’t wearing an Aurora Crystal to stay behind. In fact, you should just go by yourself.”

I felt my heart drop. “Solo? I can’t go there myself. I’m facing a pride of Raitah. I can’t go there and be an army of one. But if you insist…” I closed the mirror and put it back in my pocket, ignoring Kanna’s voice. I turned around and found myself looking in Ryan’s eyes. “Kanna thinks that I should go it alone.”

He crossed his arms. “What do you think?”

And the team turns ugly. I looked away. “Well, I…”

“Don’t be angry wit’ her!” Static interrupted. “She’s doin’ the right ting! We’ll only get in her way. A rule of most Pokemon is if it looks like a human, talks like a human, and fights like a human, then it’s not to be trusted. Shonta can turn into a Raitah and she’s wearing da Light Dragon Key, meaning dat she’s pretty much top cat. She’ll be alright without us. Besides, da last time I saw a Raitah, I almost went the way of Squeaky.”

I’ll never see the end of that incident. “I’m going now. I’ll be back in no time. Before I go…” I handed Ripper his Venom Crystal. “I guess you’re trustworthy now.”

“Go with her, Ripper,” Ryan commanded.

Ripper smirked. “You didn’t have to push me. I was gonna go anyway.” He started his way to the attic.

Artemis yawned. “I would go too, but I’m so tired I’ll just stay here and nap.”

“You think you could look after my pokeballs and the Mini Mirror while I’m gone?” I asked.


The other end of the mirror was dark and damp. Looking overhead I actually saw roots. “Are we…underground?” I thought out loud.

“It has to keep hidden, right?” Ripper said.

The mirror went back to showing the reflection of the underground chamber, leaving us with the Dragon Key as our only source of light. We walked through an inclined tunnel and out into fresh air and sun. Ahead of us was dry, tall grass as far as the eye could see. Trees were few and far between. I felt a tingling sensation as I unwillingly went into my Raitah form. “This place just screams grassland,” I commented. “It must be the dry season. I won’t be able to see a thing over this grass. Ripper, could you…”

He groaned. “I know. Give me a second.” He flew to a low branch and then hopped a little higher. “Okay boss, get ready. They’re prowling somewhere up ahead. Whoa, one of them has a killer hairstyle! It’s much longer and bushier than that Mr. T Mohawk of yours.”

“Stop criticizing and…” I stopped at the sound of grass rustling behind me. Several sets of footsteps were closing in. They knew I was coming, so they waited until I came. But why are they invisible? “I know you’re there! Show yourself!” I turned around and stared at a parting in the tall grass. There appeared a male Raitah with a mane like mine. He stood taller than me and looked like he could kick my butt with his eyes closed. I heard more grass rustling and two smaller ones appeared, but their heads were mane-free.

“I didn’t see this coming,” Ripper said lazily, still up in the tree branch.

“Look at what we have here. Have you come to play with us?” he said in mock innocence.

One of the smaller Raitah cackled. “Look, Prowler! She’s wearing a pretty collar! Could she be somebody’s pet?” She said “pet” in absolute hatred.

I gulped and took a step back. Kanna wasn’t kidding. They really hate humans. “I’m here on Aurora Knights business. Can I speak to the leader of your pride?”

Prowler casually stepped forward. “What’s the hurry? Can’t you mix business with pleasure? Wouldn’t you like to play with me and my friends?”

“Hey, I think he likes you!” Ripper yelled.

I hate it when guys flirt with me like this. I started toward the grass but the female Raitah blocked my way. “We’ll play later,” I growled. I sparked to emphasize my seriousness.

“You’re what humans would call a wet blanket,” she said in an upset voice as she stepped out of the way. Ripper came down and started to follow me. What came next wasn’t much of a surprise.

“I would rather play!” Prowler roared. I glanced back and watched him launch into the air. I listened to my human instincts and ran into the grass only to feel the air knocked out of me as I was tackled to the ground. I winced as his claws dug into my back and side. I could smell his raw meat breath as his head bent closer to mine. “You belong to a human. I can smell it on you.”

I didn’t exactly brush up against anybody this morning. Is their sense of smell that powerful? “And you need some Listerine. I can smell it on you,” I returned. I let out a Thundershock, but he merely absorbed it. “Ripper, I need help here!”

My ears drooped when I heard him grunting in pain and the nearby tree being slammed by a heavy metal mantis. “You and me both!” he moaned.

Great. I’m not going to turn out to be a very good Aurora Knight. Let’s try this one more time. I went for a stronger electric attack this time and saw the Key glow. The powered-up attack was effective enough to give the male Raitah some pain and get him off of my back. “This isn’t a very good welcoming committee. I’m an Aurora Knight and I only come here to talk, not fight!”

He snorted. “I do not know of such a thing as Aurora Knights.”

Feeling stupid right now. “You weren’t waiting for us?”

“No, but I was,” said a female voice from behind. There stood another Raitah with a wild mane, and she was slightly bigger and looked older than me and Prowler. She was sparking fiercely and making her mane look bigger. She stepped up to Prowler and bared her teeth. “You’re in my territory again. You are not yet strong enough to challenge me.”

Prowler let out a loud roar that shook the ground (and my nerves). The older Raitah merely stood tall and let out a roar that could make an Arcanine run for cover. I absentmindedly tucked my tail between my legs, made my ears droop, and lay low. Prowler did the same, as well as his “friends”. Ripper stepped away from us. Prowler growled and walked away.

The older Raitah turned to me. “Prowler frequently comes to challenge me for leadership in my pride. He and his younger siblings control a much smaller territory, and it’s getting smaller. My name is Imani. Sit with me while my pride hunts.”

She’s nice. She reminds me of someone. “How do you know about the Aurora Crystals? You’re not wearing one.”

“Oh really?” She shook her mane and revealed a Shock Crystal embedded in her forehead. “My ancestors have been guarding the Light Dragon Key as it waited for the next owner. Unfortunately, I have only heard tales as the Raitah the humans call Raikou watched over it until you were born. This is the first time I have laid eyes on it. Your name, please?”

Now I know how I’m able to become a Raitah. Raikou must’ve been a Raitah in his past life. “My name’s Shonta. This is one of my teammates, Ripper.” I glanced at Ripper as he relaxed a little.

“Not exactly a Raitah name. And you do not act like one, either.”

I gulped. “Would you kill me if I said that I was really a human in disguise?”

“Not a very good disguise. If you want to disguise yourself as a wild Pokemon, do not wear a collar like you’re somebody’s pet.”

“Amen,” Ripper muttered.

“But I do not blame you. You are merely acting out what you were taught during your years as a human. You fear what you were taught to fear, and think what you were taught to think. You were being taught how to act like a human. Now you must learn how to act like a Pokemon.”

“She already has. Took down and ate some little girl’s Rattata yesterday,” Ripper said in an amused voice.

“Did Ryan tell everyone that?” I growled angrily.

Imani laughed heartily. “I see that teaching you will be unnecessary!”

My mind was boggled. “But I was here to…”

She stopped laughing in an instant. “You are here to learn about the disappearing of the grassland.” I nodded. “The guardian of the Kai Flora Crystal has been acting strange lately. She used to be such a caring soul but at times she simply wanders this place, killing every form of plant life she touches. Then she mutters these words: ‘surrender the Kai Aqua Crystal’. She goes back to whence she came, clearly unaware of what she did here.”

“She’s under control,” I whispered.

Imani walked up to me with her head high. “You must fulfill your duty!”

I was about to ask her more questions when my ears picked up the sounds of hooves. To a Raitah, anything that has hooves can be eaten. Peering out over the scenery, I spotted a Tauros running towards me.

“It seems that our conversation will have to end here; our breakfast is approaching.” She shot forward like a rocket and headed straight for the Tauros. Watching the two Pokemon was like watching two trains get ready to collide with each other. Both of them had their heads down and showed no signs of slowing down. I held my breath as the gap between them closed. At the last second, Imani launched herself high in the air and landed with claws extended on the Tauros’s back. The Tauros cried out in pain and started to buck, but that only made Imani dig in deeper with her claws and make the blood flow over the Tauros’s sides. Imani finished it off with a paralyzing Thunderbolt. It was still alive when she started ripping its flesh.

“Thanks for the info. I’ll be going now,” I said nervously, trying hard to stop the drool in my mouth.

“Do not go anywhere. I will be leaving for the valley soon for the teaching of the electric types,” Imani told me. “I should not eat too much, anyway; I’ll leave the rest for my pride. They did go through all the trouble of separating this one from its herd.”

“Um, Imani? I mean, Lady Imani?” I guessed that since she was probably head honcho of the Shock Crystal owners that I should address her that way. “What did you mean by fulfilling my duty?”

“The Light Dragon Key has the duty of freeing those that are under the control of the Umbra Crystals.”

darktyranitar
30th August 2005, 11:06 AM
Come on, people. Let's reply to this fanfic. It's not that bad...it's cool! :biggrin:

The fic was pretty long. I had a tough time trying to finish reading (and understanding) one chapter from this fic. When the characters talk, I sometimes lost track to who is talking to who. Also, I sometimes misinterpret the characters (I thought Shonta was a boy at first!)

However, despite all the point, I found myself glued to read the next chapter (Still reading on chapter 4, I'll continue on reading). This fic is awesome!

See you in the next chapter! :smilie:

classy_cat18
30th August 2005, 11:48 AM
darktyranitar: Gee, what made you think that my main character was a guy?

Thanks for replying to my fic. I’m sorry if it was too complicated for you. Sometimes I have so many ideas floating around in this ol’ noggin that it can get a little confusing. I try to warn my readers when I shift POV’s. Speaking of which, this chapter’s in Artemis’s point of view.

The Plot Revealed

The night before…

Red eyes shone in the darkness, looking straight ahead. Looking at me. Behind me stood a ball of light. It stretched and morphed until it took the shape of a dragon. It glared straight past me and into the red eyes of the unknown creature.

“Beware of the dark, for one does not know what truly lies within,” the dragon whispered in Shonta’s voice.

“What’s in there?” I asked her, looking back at the red eyes as they slowly changed to ice blue.

“One does not know what truly lies within,” she whispered again.

I woke up in Ryan’s room, woke up in darkness. I trembled as I lay on the blanket next to Static. There was nothing to that dream, but those eyes were disturbing. The way they changed color like that…they looked like…

I opened my mouth in an attempt to wake up Static and then closed it, thinking that I should talk to someone else. I jumped on the bed and stood on Shonta’s stomach, looking at her surprisingly peaceful face. She uttered something inaudible, revealing small fangs. No telling what she was dreaming about. It was best not to wake her up.

Maybe Reaper would talk to me. He’s wise when it comes to mysteries like this.. I jumped down and crept to the attic where Reaper and Ripper slept. They slept on opposite sides of the attic. None of us thought that it would work, but it did. I cautiously walked up to Reaper and listened to his steady breathing for a minute, fixated on his peaceful face. “Wait a minute, what am I doing? Reaper, wake up!” I said quietly.

“Hmm?” he moaned as his eyes slowly half opened.

“I’m sorry, but I need to talk to you about something.”

“Surely it can wake until morning.” His eyes closed again.

“I can’t sleep! I need to talk to you about my dream now!” I emphasized the last word with desperation.

His eyes stayed closed. “Please wait until morning.”

“You’ll be fighting with Ripper in the morning.”

“No, I won’t.”

“Yes, you will! If not with him, then with Char if he shows up.”

“I promise I’ll talk to you in the morning.” He drifted back to sleep, and I left to do the same.

After Shonta left…

“Yo, Artie! Wake up so we can spar already!” Static yelled in my ear.

“Static, leave me alone before you regret it,” I growled. I looked back up at the duel between Reaper and Ripper. You promised, Reaper! You said you wouldn’t be fighting with him, but there you are like every morning! I’ll never forgive you for this! I turned away and glared at Static, who promptly backed off.

“Something wrong, Artemis?” Cinder sheepishly asked.

“It’s nothing!” I snapped. Cinder gave a small shriek and hid behind Ryan’s leg.

“Someone got on the wrong side of the blanket this morning,” Ryan told me in an amused tone.

I merely snorted and turned back to the two bug Pokemon. Reaper broke away from the fight and glanced at me. Not wanting to yield, I turned my back to him and walked through the open door. I headed up to the attic and sat in front of the Aurora Mirror. I’ll just wait for Shonta to come back. She’ll listen to me. My ears laid back as I heard the sound of Reaper’s buzzing wings. “Leave me alone.”

“I apologize for breaking my promise earlier, Artemis. I hope you can forgive me,” Reaper said quietly.

“I needed to talk to you, but I guess your petty fights are more important,” I growled, keeping my back to him.

“Petty!?! I cannot back down from a challenge! It would show weakness!” He took on a tone of anger.

“Why do you need to fight every single day?” I shouted. “Is it a guy thing?”

“No, it’s a Scyther thing. It’s natural to fight over things every single day.” I looked at him with narrowed eyes. “Okay, so it’s probably a guy thing also.”

“I’m glad that I’m a female. So are you going to talk to me or what?” I gave him a small smile.

He sighed and sat next to me, looking at the mirror. “So…are you waiting for Shonta to come back?” I nodded. “Does this have anything to do with Shonta?” I nodded again. “So why didn’t you wake her up in the middle of the night?”

“Because I rather take my chances with a Scyther than a Raitah. So I had a dream last night, and I think it has something to do with the Aurora Crystals. To be more precise, I think it involves Shonta. I saw a dragon and I think it was the Light Dragon Key. It talked to me in Shonta’s voice. ‘Beware of the dark, for one does not know what truly lies within.’”

He looked upwards. “She could be talking about the Umbra Demons. The Umbra Crystals do a good job of masking one’s true self.”

“Then why did she say to beware?” I read his puzzled expression. “There was also a pair of eyes in my dream. Red eyes, like mine. At the end of the dream, they gave an ice blue glow.”

“Maybe it’s a psychic-type Pokemon.”

“Then what’s with the statement? Is there a connection between the dragon and the glowing eyes or are they two different things?”

Reaper’s wings vibrated a bit and then stopped as he sighed heavily. “I have no clue.”

We went back to staring at the mirror before Reaper spoke up again. “Why did you want to talk to me about this?”

That’s a good question. “You seem wise enough to read into these things. Static may know, but I don’t really understand a word that comes out of his mouth. I don’t think Ripper cares about this; it seems like he’s in it for the excitement. I’m not sure about Ryan.”

“What about Cinder?”

I slightly blushed. “He doesn’t seem that smart. Look, is there a problem with wanting to talk to you about this!?! Because if there is, then I can leave right now!”

“No, there’s not a problem! I just wanted to know why I was chosen and why you’re acting like a total witch this morning!”

I breathed heavily. “You know, I think I know why you’re fighting every morning,” I said calmly.

“Why?”

“You’re a total bastard that can’t stand anybody being nice to you!” I suddenly shouted.

“Yo, what’s goin’ on up there?” Static’s voice shouted from downstairs.

“Nothing!” Reaper and I said together.

Static’s head poked out from the attic entrance. “Yeesh, Artie! Are youse having a bad case of PMS or somethin’?” He was followed by Cinder, who was looking very nervous about approaching me again.

I miss Feather. “Everyone just leave me alone!” I took no more than three steps when I noticed that Reaper was once again staring at the mirror. It was no longer showing our reflections, but the image of a large dark room. It was the Midnight Caves, and the crystals were glowing, which probably meant that someone was in there.

“The Aurora Mirror has been activated,” Reaper whispered.

I seemed to be drawn in by this fact. I walked up to the mirror and prodded it, watching the surface ripple at my touch. I took a deep breath and jumped through it, landing in the massive cavern room of mirrors. I turned around and waved my paw at the others with a smile. “Come on guys, it’s alright!” Reaper walked through the mirror without hesitation, followed by Static pushing Cinder.

“So, you choose to brave the challenges that lay ahead of you?” a deep voice said behind me, followed by the tinkle of a bell. I turned around and saw a grim-looking Drowzee holding a small bell on a string. Around his neck hung a purple Crystal, similar to the one Apollo wore. I remembered Shonta telling me of someone like him.

“Hey, you’re Houdini! You’re the guy that froze Ecruteak City!” I shouted out. I stood still as I heard my voice echo through the cave. My fur stood on end as I expected battle. “What are you doing here? What do you want with us?” I looked back and saw the others nod in agreement.

“It’s not what I want with you. It’s what the Crystal wants,” he said boldly, sweeping an arm around the cave. “It called you here. It’s your time to stand with us.”

The Aurora Crystal started to glow in different colors, and my ears picked up the sound of a child laughing. My legs started to quiver, sensing that something unnatural was happening. But my mind told me to stay. Although Static took a couple steps back before stopping and Cinder tried to run back through the mirror but failed because it went back to its solid state, Reaper and I stood our ground. A small part of me wished that I could be as unshakable as Reaper.

“Why is the cave laughin’? What’s so funny?” Static asked shakily.

“It is the Crystal that is laughing,” Houdini said. “It knows it has found a suitable owner for the shard of the Kai Lunar Crystal.” He pointed to me.

Why is he saying “crystal” instead of “crystals”? My heart couldn’t help but beat double time. “You mean me?” I shouted over the growing laughter. The laughter died down and was replaced by something that sounded like a wind chime tinkling.

“A great unknown evil has taken hold of an Aurora Crystal. If we do not stop it, the world will be plunged into chaos. The Crystal predicted this, and awoke to gather the others. You two will lead those of your kind against this evil.”

“It’s not just me? Then who else?” Houdini glanced at Reaper. “I don’t believe it. How do you know of these things? Could it be because you had a news flash?”

“The Crystal told me directly of Pokemon that would be receiving their destinies today. Those Pokemon are standing with me in this very room.”

“Oh boy,” Static whimpered.

“LET ME OUT OF HERE!” Cinder cried out as he banged on the Mirror.

The Crystal – or Crystals – went back to laughing. I looked up as the whole room sparkled. Two big hunks of Crystal turned into another color. One turned black while the other one turned deep purple. Something broke off and fell from those hunks, as well as a couple more from a big hunk that hung from the ceiling. I stared at the black one, my mind somehow fixated on it. I walked to it and poked it with a paw. [I]I can almost feel the power inside it.[I]

“AAH!” It was Reaper, his blades over his forehead. The Crystal took this as the perfect opportunity to jump up and hit me in the chest, burying itself in my fur and skin, burning slightly. The last two Crystal shards flew up and hit Static and Cinder. I glared at Houdini with blurry vision.

“Artemis, owner of the Kai Lunar Crystal. Reaper, owner of the Kai Venom Crystal. You have been given your destiny. What do you choose to do with it?” Houdini told us.

I felt my legs get weak. “I…I…” Everything became dark.

“Protect your humans,” his voice echoed in my mind.

classy_cat18
2nd September 2005, 01:37 PM
This chapter is in Ryan’s point of view.

Cats and Dogs

“Ryan, who’s that girl sitting over there?” a kid whispered in my ear.

I looked over there and saw a black girl sitting by herself on a swing, looking down at something in her cupped hands. “She’s new in my class. What did the teacher say her name was?”

“She’s so tiny! Definitely bully chow,” he said. “Hey Ryan, I dare you to talk to her.”

My eyes widened as I nearly fell off of the jungle gym. “Why me!?! What if that little shrimp turns out to be a bully? I’ll be the one that ends up as bully chow!”

The girl looked at us for a second with curious eyes and went back to her hands. The two of us sat quietly for a while before my friend spoke up again. “Don’t you wanna know what she’s holding? What if it’s alive?”

That got my attention. “Okay, I’ll go.” I slowly climbed down and walked over to the little girl. She looked up at me with small brown eyes, neither angry nor afraid. “Hi, I’m Ryan. Aren’t you in my class?”

She cocked her head. “I guess so. I’m Shonta. I’m new here.”

The light bulb in my head clicked on. “So you’re the one that moved in the house next to me! Where did you come from?”

“I can’t remember.”

I blinked. How come she can’t remember? I shrugged and sat in the swing next to her. “What’s that you’re holding?”

She held out a big brown feather. “I found it near the woods, but I don’t know what it belongs to.”

“I think you found a Fearow feather. Mom says that a lot of those live in the woods. But it could also be a Noctowl feather.” An idea came to me. “Why don’t you show it to the teacher?”

“I’m afraid that if I show it to anyone, they’ll know that I have it and they’ll try to steal it.” She looked down at the feather, took one of my hands in hers, and placed the feather in my palm. “You can have it.”

“Why are you giving it to me?”

“You’re very nice. I feel like I can trust you. Want to be friends?” She held out her hand.

I shook it. “Okay.”

“…very nice.”

I snapped out of it. “What were you saying?” I asked Terri.

She waved a bikini in front of me. “I said this would look very nice. For the cruise, I mean. I just wish that Shonta would wear something like this. She has slimmed down quite a bit over the last few weeks.” She stared in my eyes for a long while. “You were zoning out. Why?”

I gulped. She knew why I had zoned out. “Just thinking about the day I first met Shonta.”

“I knew it! Sometimes I wonder why you two aren’t dating. One day I’m going to knock both of you unconscious and drag you to a nice restaurant just so you’ll know what dating feels like.” She put a couple more articles of clothing in a suitcase. “While you are getting acquainted with her, I’ll be impressing Riku.”

“I thought you said that Riku was creepy.”

“Yeah, but he’s also rich and cute.” Her expression became one of worry. “What’s going on up there? Those Pokemon are too quiet. I’m going to check on them.”

A loud roar burst out, shocking both of us. We stood still before I spoke up. “That’s Shonta. I recognize that roar.” My feet acted before my brain did as I sprinted up into the attic where Shonta stood, teeth slightly bared. It didn’t take me long after to notice that none of the Pokemon were in the attic. “Where are they, Shonta?”

“Look in the mirror,” she growled.

I peered into the mirror and saw the Midnight Caves. All of our Pokemon were there, lying motionless on the ground except Ripper, who was standing over Reaper. Shonta looked at me with an unusual ferocity. “How could you not know what was happening?” she growled at me.

Terri stood back and kept her mouth shut. I, on the other hand, felt my blood boil. “Don’t get mad at me! I was only giving them a little space!” I yelled.

Her growling quickly stopped as her face became a little softer. “I’m sorry. But I found them like this when I got there. And…all of them have an Aurora Crystal embedded in them.” She stepped back through the mirror and walked toward Artemis.

I followed her and picked up Cinder, who was shaking slightly. A fiery red Crystal like mine was imbedded in the skin above his nose and between the eyes. “Come on, buddy. Wake up!”

“Uh…my head hurts,” he groaned.

I looked at Shonta again as she nudged Artemis. Terri was stroking Aqua’s back and muttering to herself. They started stirring at the same time, along with the others. Static and Reaper wore their Aurora Crystals on their foreheads like Cinder, while the two Eeveelutions wore theirs on their chest.

“Do they look alright?” I asked Shonta and Terri.

“Artemis is a little shaky, but she’ll be just fine,” Shonta said in a relieved voice. “A little rest is all she needs.”

“Same for Aqua,” Terri said.

Cinder squirmed in my arms. “That laugh. Is it…gone?”

I blinked. “What laugh?”

Static stumbled over and leaned on me. “We met dat Houdini guy in here. Someone started laughin’ and we heard somethin’ like a wind chime and…dese came.” He pointed to the Crystal in his head. “I dunno about you, but I feel electrically drained.”

“It was a kid laughing,” Cinder said quietly. “At least, it sounded like one. But we couldn’t find out where or who it was coming from.”

“Sounds like the spirit of the caves invited you to our little club,” a voice said from one of the dark corridors. A Sandslash walked out and smiled at us.

“Aren’t you Digger?” I asked. I remembered seeing someone like him coming out of the cave yesterday.

He nodded. “That’s me. Every time a Kai Crystal takes flight, the spirit of the cave rejoices. I was just an inhabitant here when it first happened. Scared me out of my wits.”

A Kai Crystal!?! “Who has a Kai Crystal?”

Digger pointed to Artemis and Reaper. “They may be head honchos Crystal-wise, but as a Knight they’re nothing but rookies. Remember that.” He turned around and headed and started into the darkness.

“Wait! What’s this ‘spirit of the cave’?” I yelled out.

He kept his back to us. “I’ll tell you when you have time. Right now Lady Imani wants to talk to you.” He scampered down the tunnel, leaving us with the new Knights.

“Just wanted to let you know that I love the new look,” Terri spoke up.

Shonta kneeled and let Static climb on her. She led the way out of the caves, me right behind her carrying Cinder, followed by Terri and the rest. I hesitated and then ran up beside Shonta. “Why did you get so mad at me back there?” I asked her.

“I was worried about the Pokemon. For all I knew they could’ve been attacked.”

“So you thought it was my fault?”

“Listen, I’m sorry!” she growled with a frustrated voice.

“Be nice, youse two,” Static said.

We reached the mouth of the cave and found ourselves looking straight at another Raitah, this one with a crazy Tina Turner ‘do. “Are your friends alright, Shonta?” the Raitah asked.

“Yes they are, Lady Imani. Let me introduce you to my two human friends, Ryan and Terri.”

Imani looked at Terri and then at me, her expression hardening as she did so. “Kneel, human,” she commanded. I did, and she looked over me. “Ah, the noble dog. Are you here to protect your master?” She gave a small chuckle.

Dog!?!

Imani turned to Shonta. “There are a few Knights that want to meet the holder of the Kai Aqua Crystal shard. Follow me.”

“Come on, Terri,” Shonta said. “Are you coming, Ryan?”

I shook my head furiously. “I think I’ll stay here with Artemis.”

Artemis blinked. “What? Oookay, whatever you say.” She sat next to me and watched her trainer walk off with the others. “So, what’s on your mind?”

“It’s your trainer. Her new persona’s getting on my nerves.”

“She’s just playing the part. Cats are supposed to act snobby like that.”

“It’s not just the snobbiness. When she saw you and the others unconscious in the cave, she got angry at me. Like it was my fault.”

She gave a small smirk. “You’re telling me that you’ve never gotten so angry that you actually looked for someone to take your anger out on?”

I opened my mouth to say no, but I gave it another thought and figured out that she was right. “I probably just missed the way she used to be. She just came to my school without a clue in the world. She needed a friend, and there I was. I did my best to protect her from bullies and the occasional Tulip outburst.”

“So you were the noble dog,” Artemis remarked, remembering Imani’s comment.

I hung my head. “I guess you’re right. Who should I protect now?”

She laid a paw on my leg. “She’ll always need someone to protect her, no matter how powerful she is. Oh, aren’t you cute the way you worry about her?” She laughed hard.

“Stop that, please.” My face got hot. I looked up to see if I could find the group and instead found Riku headed towards me, wearing T-shirt and jeans and followed by his “noble dog” Apollo. For one second I could’ve sworn that it was me that was growling and not Artemis. Neither of us said nothing as Riku tossed something on the ground in front of me. “What’s this?”

“Your new collar,” he joked.

Now I started to growl. “Don’t joke! I’ll rip your throat out!” My tongue ran over elongated canine teeth. I felt my nails grow and harden.

“It won’t be long. Soon the noble dog will be released and ready to protect his master,” he continued. “But it looks like he needs a little push.” He rubbed his Dark Phoenix Key, grinning as the feather pattern etched into it started to glow.

“You’re doing this!” I growled, feeling my body bulge. My spiky hair lengthened into a mane. I went down on all four as my legs went furry and my hands and legs transformed into paws.

“Stop it right now!” Artemis shouted.

“No, don’t,” I said. “I’ll enjoy this.” I was fully transformed, an Arcanine ready to fight my opponent. I opened my mouth and let out a Flamethrower. Riku rolled to the side and avoided the blast.

“You should be glad I released the real you,” Riku said calmly, his cold blue eyes looking at me. “If you contained that thing any longer you would’ve been a danger to everyone, including Shonta. You remember her little episode, right?”

Artemis’s ears drooped. “I guess you’re right. Huh?” Her ears perked up again as she looked past Riku. Something was racing for Riku fast. He stood still then jumped to the side at the last second. The unknown object spun in place and stopped, revealing itself to be a Starmie.

It settled on the ground and turned to Riku. <Riku, stop your foolishness,> it sent through telepathy. <We have things to discuss.>

“Yes, Starlet,” he said smoothly, although he sounded a little angry.

classy_cat18
4th September 2005, 12:30 AM
Back to Shonta’s POV!

Water on the Brain

“Whoa!” I exclaimed as something purple shot past over my head. Following its direction, I saw a large (and quite angry) Arcanine getting ready to tear Riku’s throat out. Riku nearly dodged the purple object, which turned out to be a Starmie.

“That was Starlet. She’s usually calm, but she doesn’t like it when the rookies are being picked on,” Imani explained.

So that’s what Ryan looks like in Pokemon form. He’s a little big for an Arcanine.

“This is Triton and Kasuizu,” Imani announced. A Golduck and Totodile standing in the shade of the trees looked over in our direction and waved.

The Totodile came and shook my paw enthusiastically. “My full name is Kasumi Suinoko Tsunamizu. The perfect name for a water type. Where’s the Aqua Knight?”

“That would be me and Aqua,” Terri answered. “Terri. I’m the cat’s cousin.”

Kasuizu smiled. “Alright! Nice to meet you!”

The Golduck approached Reaper and looked over him very closely. I sat waiting for a response. “Reaper dude! You’re here!”

“Triton. So you’re alive and well,” Reaper said with relief.

“I’m alright! I heard you settled down with a righteous babe.”

Great. They have a surfer dude in the team. And I’m Reaper’s “righteous babe”. I cleared my throat. “I would be Reaper’s…babe. Or I could just be his dudette.”

“The correct term is a dudine. But awesome catch! Look at the mane, and those claws, and those…teeth.” He gulped. “You’re not his girlfriend, are you?”

“No, I’m his trainer. This body is just a disguise.” I smiled and winked to show that I was on friendly terms.

“Whatever. So, you’re my dudes for the mission?”

My ears drooped. “What mission?”

“To make sure that the new Kai Aqua dudine doesn’t get killed. See, the Umbra Demons want the power of the Kai Aqua Crystal. That shard holds that power.”

“Since the Kai Crystal Shard already chose Terri, they can’t just snatch it and use it,” Kasuizu jumped in. “The only way for them to seize control of the shard is to kill the owner and hope that the next one in line to use it hasn’t been born yet. Which is a pretty good chance.”

“Hold up! They’re all after me!?!” Terri yelled. “How come I’m going with you?”

“Like, so we can keep an eye on you. Besides, your Crystal is more powerful than ours. This is, like, a perfect opportunity for you to practice.”

“Can’t I practice here?” Her voice was starting to get shaky. “Besides, we have a cruise to go on.”

I froze. That’s why Riku’s taking us on that cruise! It’s a cover-up for the mission! “There’s no logic to that! If she comes with us then she’ll be in danger!” I thought over what I said. “But she has nowhere else to go. Mom is very protective over her right now; she’ll make sure that Terri’s on that boat with us. So I guess she is staying with us.”

Terri sighed. “Man, this sucks.” She plopped on the grass.

“Wait. Is this the guy that is threatening to turn the Grand Neo Grassland into a desert?” I asked.

“You mean Jade? Nah, right now she’s just a puppet. We have to find whoever’s doing this, though,” Triton answered. He crossed his arms. “But the head of this operation is some crazy Azumarill chick. Broke out of her home in the Kumquat Island Aquarium and ran off. With an Umbra Crystal.”

“That’s who attacked me! Where is she now?” Terri yelled angrily.

Kasuizu shrugged. “All we know is that she’s still somewhere in the Orange Islands with some kind of posse. They’ve been doing small stuff for now, but it’s just for fun.”

“GET OFF!” a familiar voice roared loudly. I whirled around and saw Ryan run toward us at top speed, someone on his back. Triton groaned and lifted a glowing finger. Ryan ran past us, but someone was left behind, floating in midair: Riku.

“Dude, lay off of the rookie,” Triton told Riku as he slowly put him down. “Let’s get to business. We need to know who needs to go and who needs to stay.”

“I’m staying!” Cinder said automatically.

“No, you’re going. Mom will notice you gone,” Ryan said.

“But I can’t swim and get seasick!”

“I’m with the mouse on this one,” Ripper said. “We and water don’t mix.”

“It looks like I’m out as well,” Reaper joined in.

“Okay, so the bug types are out,” Riku said. “And we’ll need electric types, too.”

“So Kanna, Beacon, Static, and I are going,” I assumed.

He nodded. “And A.C. and D.C.”

A rustle in the trees above us made us look up and find Feather in Pidgey form. “I’ll need to be going, too. Char can’t make it, sorry. He’s terrified of these kinds of missions. The whole tail flame thing and all.”

“Speaking of Char, where is he?” Ryan asked.

Triton pointed through the trees. “The dude and his old man’s snoozing up in the upper cliffs on the north end of here. Those two dudes love to live high.”

“We’ll need to split ourselves up with the Pokemon,” Riku explained. “Apollo and I are going on the ship. So are Shonta, Static, and Artemis. Kanna will be with Beacon, A.C., and D.C. Ryan is with Cinder, and Terri will be with Aqua. I’ll send for T.T.”

“Youse mean the little Eevee? Why him?” Static asked.

“You runts need to do some investigative work, so while we’re enjoying ourselves on Kumquat Island the night before the cruise you Pokemon can check out the aquarium for any clues.”

“Watch it! This runt can put youse in the hospital!” Static yelled, his cheeks sparking.

I lay down on the grass and listened to the rest of the conversation. Triton and Kasuizu would be on the lookout for the Azumarril’s location. Oh, and Artemis wouldn’t be of much help, either. Shock or swim, as Static put it. Artemis hung her head and sat next to me. “When will I be able to help?” she asked me.

“When you’re not in danger of drowning. I bet that Umbra Demon’s going to ambush us out in the middle of the ocean, which is bad because I can’t swim. I’m sorry, Artemis.” I nuzzled her gently. “You’ll get your chance.”

“I’ll still get to stay with you, right?” I nodded.

“Hey, Jade’s coming to!” Feather shouted.

There came the sound of branches bending and leaves rustling. Curious, I ran into the woods and to the source of the sound. Climbing down the tree headfirst was another mystery Pokemon. It was a green lizard-like Pokemon with creepy yellow eyes and a reddish belly. A long plume of deep green leaves topped its head, and it looked like it had a few large feathers on its arms. Or maybe it was just some more leaves. “Man, I wish I had my Pokedex with me. Um, are you Jade?”

The Pokemon looked like it was glaring at me. “Yeah. Who are you?”

“I’m Shonta, the owner of the Light Dragon Key.” I backed up in case she went crazy. “So…how are you feeling? Are you okay?”

She landed on the ground and stared intensely at me. “I’m a Grovyle sleeping in the middle of the day. Do you think I’m okay?”

“I refuse on the grounds that I don’t know what a Grovyle is. But since you have the Kai Flora Crystal, I’m guessing you’re a grass type. But yeah, I guess that it’s bad for a grass type to be sleeping all day.”

She yawned. “Where’s Char? Let me guess; he’s taking a nap. Listen, are you really a Pokemon, or are you just walking around in that fur coat?”

I gave her the fish eye. “This is a disguise.” Jade stood staring at me, and I stared at her, waiting for a reason that she asked. She wasn’t moving. “Hey, walking salad! Earth to walking salad!” Still no movement. I slowly walked up to her. “Are you okay?”

“Bring me the Kai Aqua Knight,” Jade said in monotone. “Surrender him to me, or I will turn your paradise into a wasteland.”

Something tells me she’s back in La-La Land. I stepped back and looked down. Whatever grass was growing there was turning brown. She was back under control of the Demons. “Aw, shoot.” I sprung forward and threw all of my weight into her, sending her into the tree. She wobbled in place for a few seconds, came to, and quickly climbed up the tree that she slammed into. I strained to see her, but was blinded by all of the dead brown leaves that were fluttering down.

“Guys, get Terri out of here!” I looked up and noticed that the first tree that Jade climbed up was completely dead. The one in front of it was starting to die. My paws went into overdrive as I sprinted out of the woods. Terri and Ryan were gone, but the others were still here and ready to fight. I dug my claws into the earth out of anxiety. Without warning the leaves of the tree closest to me turned brown and a green shape burst out of it in a blur. Without thinking I shot a Thunderbolt and grounded Jade.

“Well, that was a whole lot of nothin’,” Static commented. “Youse didn’t even need our help.”

I sighed and changed back, feeling somewhat relieved to be human again.

Jade groaned and writhed on the ground. “Thanks…” she murmured.

“What a bummer, Jade dude. It’s gonna take a while to restore the trees you killed,” Triton said. Jade groaned louder. “Don’t worry, dude. We’ll take care of the Kai Flora Crystal shard until we capture that Azumarril.”

I looked back at Jade. Her shard was embedded in the scales in his forehead. “How can we get it?” I asked Triton.

Imani stepped forward. “Shonta, place your hand over the shard. Command it to release itself.” I did what she said, and the shard just popped off and fell to the grass. Riku walked over and picked it up. “Now, you all know your mission.”

Ryan trotted up with Terri on his back. “Shonta, get your cousin off of my back. Her shoes are hurting my sides.”

Terri slid off his back and slapped his side. “Boy, you better be glad I don’t have a whip with me, the way you flipped me on your back. I almost peed on myself!”

“Heh heh. You should’ve seen her fly,” he chuckled. “By the way, what kind of hybrid is she now?”

Terri stopped in her tracks, a look of pure horror on her face. “What, today? Right now?”

“No, but it would be best to see it before you start learning how to use your shard,” Riku answered. “Just in case it’s something dangerous.”

“Can’t be worse than Kitty Girl over there,” she joked.

“That’s it! Change now!” I yelled. The Dragon Key gave a furious glow and shot a narrow beam of light, as thin as a needle, to the shard that hung from Terri’s neck. I tried my best to shield myself from the bright flash of light that follows, but was still blinded. The only way I knew that Terri had changed was by the horde of laughs. “What? What is it?” I blinked away the spots and cracked a wide smile. In Terri’s place stood a large frog Pokemon with bright eyes and glove-like hands. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from her.

“What are you looking at?” Terri the Politoed asked us.

I couldn’t hold it in anymore. “Look, it’s Froggy Girl!” I crowed. Everyone broke down and laughed.

Terri put on an angry face. Well, it didn’t look very angry. “What’s wrong with the way I look, Garfield?”

I turned back to being a Raitah and shoved my face in hers. “Nothing…Kermit!” I went back to laughing.

“At least I’m not in danger of coughing up a hairball!”

“Well…stay away from highways! I wouldn’t want to meet my end with a 14-wheeler like you probably will, Frogger!”

“Quit it, you two!” Ryan shouted. “Like Ms. Jones says, you’re arguing like Frick and Frack!”

“Don’t you be quoting my mama!” I shouted.

“Why don’t you go and lick your butt?” Terri included.

“Don’t make me chew on you,” he murmured.

Terri huffed and sat down. “Why are we arguing like this?”

“Maybe being Pokemon puts some sort of animosity between us,” I guessed. I glanced at Terri’s confused expression. “It’s probably a Tom and Jerry thing. I don’t know where the frog fits, though.”

“Both Arcanine and Raitah are top predators of their homes,” Imani explained. “Politoed can be too, but every once and a while, something comes along and wants to take a bite out of it. This is just nature, but you can still get along. Just make sure you don’t get too much into your Pokemon lives.”

We nodded. “Let’s get back home and finish packing,” Ryan said.

The next day…

The sun wasn’t even out when we arrived at Olivine City Airport. Funny that we had to go north in order to go south. Southwest or southeast I forgot. Ryan, Terri, and I were conked out. You know what Ryan while sleeping and Arcanine have in common? They both drool. At least Arcanine aren’t in denial when someone tells them that.

“Ryan, wipe your shirt,” Ms. Steele told him when we got out of the car.

“Yeah, Ryan. Listen to your Mom,” I said drowsily.

“Shonta, wipe yours,” my mom said.

I looked down at the wet spot on my T-shirt. “See? That’s the last time I let you lean on me. You’re drooling on Terri’s shoulder on the way to Kumquat Island.”

“No, he’s not,” Terri yawned.

Frankly, I was too tired to argue. I was almost too tired to stand. For some reason, I was too tired to freak out when I saw Riku’s father.

“Greetings, Miss Rebecca. I am…”

Lucius Malfoy? Sephiroth? Bowser?

“…Daichi Iwata.”

“Oh, hi.” That was my next guess. He looks just like his son, except his hair’s silver! And it’s so long! It can’t be real! I let out a yawn, forgetting to cover my mouth. “I’m sorry, sir. I’m not exactly a morning person.”

“You can sleep on the way there. Now, I heard lots of things from your mother.”

Hope my little Doolittle complex ain’t one of them.

“Such knowledge of Pokemon. Is it true that in just a few days of your training you had an Umbreon, Raichu, and Scyther?” He hadn’t let go of my hand yet; he was just holding it in his, stroking it with his thumb. Removing my hand could be an insult. After all, Mom works for him.

“Y-yeah. We’re buddies. What can I say? It’s a gift!” I gave a nervous laugh.

“What do you have, young Steele?” he asked Ryan, his hand still holding mine.

“Ryan has a Scizor. A good one,” I interrupted.

He looked back in my eyes (his was behind sunglasses, by the way) and finally let go of my hand. “Such a lovely daughter you have, Ms. Jones. You see, my son is so alone in our home. If you’re afraid of boarding costs, she’s more than welcome to stay with us.”

Oh, the bastard wants to hook his son up, huh? All I need is ten seconds. Ten seconds and he’ll be Raitah Chow! I felt a growl rise in my throat and bit my lower lip. I accidentally punctured it with my partially transformed canines.

“Well, if Shonta wants…” Mom started.

“No, I’m just fine in the dorms,” I said as calmly as I could. “Thank you for the offer, though.” I looked over at Ryan. He looked more than a little ticked off. Terri looked too tired to care.

“Let’s go to our flight, shall we?” Daichi said. He led us through the terminal and out into the runway. A guy came and got our luggage. We found ourselves staring at the most luxurious private jet I’ve ever seen.

Terri’s jaw dropped through the concrete. “Dang, girl! P. Diddy’s jet ain’t nothing like this!”

“I’m glad you like it…Terri. It’s Terri, right?” Daichi asked.

“Yeah, it is. Shonta’s cousin.” She waited for Daichi to get out of whispering distance. “Okay, what do you have that I don’t?”

“Maybe it’s animal magnetism. After all, cats are more lovable than frogs.” I smiled.

“Okay, I know you can’t swim. As soon as I find a swimming pool you’re as good as dunked.”

The first one I saw in the jet was, surprisingly, Kanna. She walked over and gave me a small hug. “I’m glad you’re here! Come sit with me!” She dragged me to a seat where A.C. and D.C. were sitting.

“Where’s Beacon?” I asked.

“She’s terrified of flying. Or heights, for that matter. If she would’ve flown with us, I wouldn’t be able to get her out of the bathroom.”

The electric type twins looked up. “Yay! Miss Shonta’s coming with us!”

“I had to bring them along,” Kanna said. “The daycare center that usually takes care of them while I go places won’t take them anymore. Says they’re little rugrats.”

I started to get second thoughts. “On second thought, I think I’ll sit with Ryan. Riku really got under his skin yesterday.”

Mom and Ms. Steele glanced at me from the seat behind Kanna. I avoided Mom’s gaze and went over to Ryan. So far Kanna was with A.C. and D.C., Riku was with his father, the two mothers were sitting together, and Terri was with Ryan. “Terri, switch places with me. You’ll be closer to Riku that way.”

She raised an eyebrow. “You really don’t like him, do you?”

“Um, no.” I didn’t want to mention the “rugrats”. She got up and sat next to Kanna. Ryan was sleeping with Cinder in his lap. I sat down and tapped Ryan on the shoulder. “Hey bud.”

Ryan opened an eye. “Come on, I’m tired here.”

“You’re upset about what Daichi said to me, aren’t you?”

He groaned. “I just thought he was being too friendly.”

“There is no way you could be more creeped out about him than me. Something about him and Riku…maybe they’re just spoiled. Being rich means you can buy just about anything.” I lay my head on his shoulder. His scent comforted me. “But I want nothing to do with that man’s money.”

“You’re sure? I mean, those two don’t look half bad.” I heard his heart speed up.

“Looks can be deceiving. Both Mom and I know that. Besides, I know you’re truly nice both inside and out, and I can trust you no matter what. It’s been like that since we were kids, and it will always be like that.” I know, it sounded mushy. But being around a best friend allowed mushiness with zero embarrassment.

“Aw, that’s so sweet,” Cinder whispered.

darktyranitar
4th September 2005, 10:16 AM
Quote: darktyranitar: Gee, what made you think that my main character was a guy?

Um, maybe just instinct? Haha.... :biggrin:

So...people can change to Pokemon? Wow...somehow that thought is rather intigued me. Anyway, about the characters...I made a list in notepad to get to know them, and I've almost known most of them...

The ideas that you're giving was pretty good and unique. I've managed to read all the chapter, so I'm getting to know the story better. I hope more people will post to this fic. Keep it up! :smilie:

-Faiz

P/S: BTW, classy_cat18,I was wondering if you are planning to update your other fanfic, Dragon Song. It was a good fic, mang. I like it! hope you do something about it.

classy_cat18
6th September 2005, 06:42 PM
I am working on a chapter of Dragon's Song right now, darktyranitar. I may have to wait until the end of this week to finish it though.

Ryan’s point of view.

On to Kumquat Island

“Shonta?” I nudged on her shoulder. “Great, she’s asleep.” I hesitated before pulling the stray hair away from her face.

“What now, Ryan?” Cinder asked me.

“I guess we try to entertain ourselves.” I looked around the plane at the other passengers. Ms. Jones and my mom were sleeping, Kanna was typing away at her computer while her Plusle and Minun drove Terri crazy, Daichi was just staring into space and…

“Hi,” a warm voice said from behind. I turned around to see a pair of cold blue eyes stare into mine. “Are you enjoying the flight? I can pop in a DVD if you’d like.” His voice went as cold as his eyes as he glanced at Shonta.

“I’m fine, Riku. I can listen to some music or something.”

The world stood still as we stared each other down. Soon I found myself growling at Riku, and he was growling back. That’s right, buddy. The girl is mine, so back off. Trot back to your seat with your tail between your legs.

“What’s goin’ on?” Static whispered, now out of his pokeball.

Riku finally turned away and went back to his seat. I put on a triumphant smile and looked down at Static. “What are you doing out of your pokeball?” I asked him.

“I need ‘ta listen to some music,” he answered, rummaging through Shonta’s backpack. “All I’m listenin’ to is A.C. and D.C.’s chatterin’. I know she has some Missy Elliot in here.”

Shonta stirred a little. “Under Construction. It’s on the last page.”

Static blinked. “Tanks.” He pulled out the CD case and took out the CD. “Now where’s her Walkman?”

“You really shouldn’t be poking around Shonta’s stuff,” Cinder whispered.

“I do it all the time. Ow!” Shonta’s foot had “accidentally” shot forward and kicked Static’s tail. “She’s not asleep, is she?”

“No. Get out of my backpack,” she said darkly.

“Yeesh! I’m gettin’ out already! Just because you’re half cat doesn’t mean you can boss me around like that!” He climbed in her lap.

“Get off, mouse,” she growled.

Static started to say something, but his expression changed to that of fear and he quickly hopped down. “Ryan, talk her out of eating me.”

“What do you mean?” I looked at Shonta’s face and froze. Her eyes were now yellow and she was sporting longer canines. She was looking directly at me with those ferocious features and quietly growling. Static, seeing that others were hearing the growling, tried his best to imitate the growl.

I grabbed Shonta’s shoulder and shook it. “Snap out of it! What’s wrong with you?”

Her eyes quickly changed to their original brown and her teeth shortened before my eyes. “I’m not wearing the Light Dragon Key,” she said with a hushed voice. “I was afraid that Mom would get suspicious about my carrying around it, so I put it in my backpack.”

I was wearing mine; Mom thought it was nothing more than a nice looking trinket made from the stone that I found when I was little. But Shonta’s Key looked like it was made by a custom jeweler. Riku was rich, so his dad wouldn’t be asking any questions. Kanna was a mystery, but she and Terri looked independent enough to the point that nobody here asked them about the jewelry they wore.

“What does that have to do with anything?” I asked.

She gave a small yelp as two pointy cat ears shot out of her head; she covered them before anyone could look her way. I motioned for Kanna to come and take her to the lavatory. “Where’s her Key?” I asked Static.

He dug around in her backpack and pulled it out. “Youse better be glad no one asked about my new Crystal. A Pokemon glues a rock to his head and no one asks.”

“I didn’t even notice that she hid it from her mom. What does that have to do with her little episode?”

“Youse may not believe me, but since dat Key allows her to transform into a Raitah, it may also let her stay human. In other words, it may be like an on-off switch. Wit’out it, she may transform if she’s under stress or something like that. Not just her looks, but also her personality.”

Shonta returned to her seat and received the Key from Static. “Sorry about that. I must’ve kept it off for too long or something.” She slipped it around her neck and smiled.

Ms. Jones mouthed “Is she okay?” I nodded, and she gave a sigh of relief.

Shonta leaned back in her seat with a calm look on her face. “It’s weird. This is the first time I’ve flown in a plane, yet I’m not even nervous. The flight has so far been so smooth. As long as we don’t run into any…” The plane shook violently for a few seconds, making us both tense up. Static and Cinder hopped into our laps. “…turbulence.”

“So much for a perfect flight. What should we do to make it up?”

“Got your Game Boy Advance?”

“Check.”

“Link cable?”

“Check.”

“Mario Kart?”

“Check.”

She put on a wicked smile. “Prepare to get your butt kicked.”

“You’re on.”

Somewhere during my butt-kicking (racing was Shonta’s specialty), Daichi actually got up and swiveled one of the chairs in front of me. We looked at each other for a few seconds before Daichi spoke. “Having fun?” he asked, pointing to our GBAs.

Shonta gave a small smile. “This kind of fun is hard to grow out of.” She was looking directly into his eyes.

“You have such an intense look. I can’t believe your mother said that you were a meek little girl. You look like quite a fighter to me.”

“Well, people grow up and get stronger. I can’t be a little girl forever. And I’m nowhere near a fighter. Ryan on the other hand…” she smiled at me. “He gets me out of all sorts of trouble.”

Static looked up from the floor, a half-eaten cracker in his paws. “Not like you can’t do that yourself,” he remarked.

Daichi glanced down momentarily with a cocked eyebrow. Don’t tell me he understood Static. “Is that your Cyndaquil, Ryan?” Daichi asked me.

“Yes, sir,” I replied. I pointed down at Cinder.

“So you’re trainers,” Daichi said in an amused voice. “Have you battled my son before?”

No, but it’s been a dream of mine to personally torch him. “No, he’s too experienced for us,” I told him.

He once again looked in Shonta’s eyes the way a hungry Persian may look at a Rattata. “Is that true? Then how does such a rookie evolve her Eevee the day after she receives it?”

Shonta managed to keep a straight face. “I kind of inherited it from a friend of Professor Cedar, so she wasn’t inexperienced.”

He kept his eyes on her. One slip and the Persian may get his meal. “Ah, Professor Cedar. He’s specialized in the field of Bug Pokemon, isn’t he?” He glanced at me. “What about your Scyther?”

I gulped. Oh yeah. The Scyther that just moved in overnight. The Scyther that I don’t even really own. “Well…I found him wounded in the woods,” I answered slowly. “He doesn’t really listen to me, though.”

“Dad, you’re interrogating them. You promised you wouldn’t do that,” Riku interrupted from his seat.

“I’m sorry.” He got up and went back to his seat while Riku took his place in the chair in front of us.

“I must apologize for Dad. He thinks anyone wanting to be my friend is only in it for the money.”

Who said I wanted to be your friend?

Shonta’s expression softened. “It must be hard for rich people to have real friends. Isn’t that right, Ryan?”

I put on a fake smile. “Believe me; I don’t want anything to do with your money.”

Riku chuckled warmly, something I didn’t know he could do. For once he looked and sounded like a normal person. “I thought so! He gives this kind of test to everyone. He’s really not like this. He’ll open up more by the time this vacation is over.”

“Good, because my spine was freezing a minute ago. Is your dad some descendent of Dracula?” I could tell she was relaxed now; she doesn’t joke like that around people she’s uncomfortable with.

“No, although we both look like that. Our hair is actually naturally silver; I dyed it a faint blue after thinking the same thing you did.” He ran a hand through it.

For a brief second, I thought what Shonta was probably thinking: that Riku wasn’t so bad. He was actually tolerable when he was like this.

“So, are we going straight to Kumquat Island or will we have to take some kind of ferry?” Shonta asked him.

“Straight to it. My father does a lot of business in the Orange Islands, so he has his own private airstrip on Kumquat Island. Feather will meet us as soon as we land. We can check in the hotel and sneak around the island with her.” He looked around to make sure no one heard him.

“You tought of everythin’, didn’t ya?” Static asked him.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The loudspeaker in the jet clicked on after an unknown amount of time. “I’m afraid that we are unable to land at the airstrip, sir,” the pilot squeaked as if he was afraid of Daichi’s reaction. “They seem to be having some kind of difficulty there.”

I suddenly got a bad feeling and stood up. Oh no.

“What kind of difficulty?” Daichi asked out loud.

A few seconds passed. “There seems to be some Pokemon on the airstrip ready to attack something, possibly the plane. The workers are attempting to drive them away as we speak.”

Daichi rubbed his chin for a minute and smiled. “Try to land the plane anyway. This should be interesting.”

“Is he insane?” Shonta and I said together.

“No, it’s just that he hasn’t had any fun for a while,” Riku said calmly.

“Sir, some more news,” the loudspeaker announced. “There seems to be another Pokemon chasing the intruder Pokemon away. By itself! It’s amazing!”

“Which Pokemon is it?”

A few seconds passed before the response came. “A Starmie, sir.”

Okay, there’s an amazing Starmie chasing a group of probably fully evolved Pokemon off of the airstrip. Gee, can anyone say “Aurora Knight”?

“Sounds like Starlet,” Shonta whispered.

“Sir, the airstrip is clear. We can land now,” the loudspeaker sounded.

Daichi actually looked disappointed. “Is the Starmie gone?”

A few seconds passed. “Yes, sir.”

“Such a shame. Let’s land, then.”

classy_cat18
8th September 2005, 01:01 AM
Shonta’s POV, ya’ll!

Kumquat Island and Beyond

We stepped out into the warm sunshine of Kumquat Island. Oh sorry, did I say warm? I meant hot! “I think my shoes are going to melt,” I joked.

“Yeah? Well, I know my paws are gonna melt!” Static said. He and Cinder got on my and Ryan’s shoulder.

“Get off of my shoulder. You’re heavy!” I started to let Artemis out of her pokeball, but then remembered that Dark types won’t like walking under a sun this intense. I’ll let her out at sunset.

We got off the airfield and into a limo. I enjoyed the sights as we drove by them. Tall palm trees. White sand beaches. And most of all, the ocean. “This place is amazing!” I exclaimed.

“No wonder we can’t afford to go here,” Mom commented. Hotels surrounded us. This really was a vacation spot. “It must be impossible to run out of rooms,” I said in awe.

“Actually, the best hotels lose vacancy pretty early in the year,” Riku said.

“Why?”

“Spring Break. Valentine’s Day. The first weekend of the year.”

“Makes sense,” Ryan said. “Cold weather tends to make people want to migrate south.”

We stopped in front of the largest hotel on the whole island. The whole front was covered in glass. The limos stopped in front of the entrance, and the driver came outside to let us out. Ryan had to drag me inside so I wouldn’t spend the whole day staring at the building.

“Do you like this so far?” Daichi asked us. We all nodded.

“Exercise programs for Pokemon…” Kanna muttered as we passed by a window where Pokemon were doing something strangely like Tae-bo.

“An indoor swimming pool…” Terri whispered as we passed a sign pointing to the indoor swimming pool. And sauna, I might add.

“A Pokemon gym!” Static shouted, and we all jumped. “Dat sign said dat one of the Orange Crew’s gym is here!”

The Elite Four of the Orange Islands. I heard that they were actually tougher than the Elite Four of Kanto. I didn’t want to risk responding to Static’s comment the wrong way. Someone would notice.

We approached the front desks and got our keys. People came to get our luggage. “I didn’t get much this time since we’re only going to stay here until tomorrow morning,” Daichi explained as we gathered in the elevator. We arrived at the floor above the top one and walked to our room. We opened the door and got a nice surprise.

“So this isn’t much?” I asked sarcastically as I checked out the room.

“Just the standard suite,” Riku replied nonchalantly.

“Can your dad adopt me?” Terri asked him.

Daichi laughed heartily. “I’ll be in my room. This is the young women’s suite. The slightly older women have another room…” He handed Mom a key, and then handed me one. “…and Riku, you and Ryan have another.”

“What about you, Daichi?” Ryan asked him.

“I like my privacy.” He left the room.

We looked at each other and got to unpacking. Kanna took out a bunch of brochures and looked at them interestingly. “Let’s see. Fine dining, great shopping…let’s go to the aquarium.”

I knew that she was implying that we should check out the aquarium. But as I scoured the newspaper, I checked out some bad news. “Um, Kanna? The aquarium’s closed. They said that someone broke in – and I mean broke – and stole all of the Pokemon. Even the Gyarados! And the police said that there’s evidence that they may not have captured the Pokemon.”

“I don’t see how anybody could’ve managed to release all of the Pokemon in the aquarium without anybody noticing,” Mom commented.

“Well, first they said that the robbery must’ve been committed during the night. And the Aquarium’s not in the city, so not a lot of tourists to just watch them leave. But they also say that some guys did see a lot of Water type Pokemon leave the island.”

“Are they saying that those Pokemon might’ve broken out themselves?” Ms. Steele wondered.

“I’m not saying except…let’s shop.”

“Now that’s what I’m talking about!” Terri cheered.

I elbowed her. “By ourselves.” I pointed out the window. Feather was perching on the railing on the tiny patio right outside the room.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“I hope I didn’t spoil any plans you had with your parents today,” Feather said as she rode on my shoulder.

“I’m used to it,” Riku said dully.

“We’re not,” I said, covering for both me and Ryan. “Mom was heartbroken.”

“We’re going out for night entertainment, so no need to feel guilty. The best stores open then.”

“Then it’s settled? Can you help us investigate?” Feather asked us quite eagerly. We all nodded, although Terri seemed to have hesitated. “Good! Then let’s find Maui and go!”

“Who’s Maui?” Terri and I asked together.

“You’ll see.” She giggled.

We were now walking up a small paved road that led to the interior of the island. We passed a sign that pointed one way to the aquarium. Another sign pointed to a small cove. Riku led us toward the cove. It was empty except for a large male Lapras and a smaller male. “The larger is called Maui,” Feather said as we approached the Water Pokemon.

A familiar face appeared from the water. “Hey dudes!”

“Hi Triton,” we returned.

Kasuizu appeared next to Triton. “Ready to ride?”

“We’re riding these guys?” Ryan said in ecstasy.

<Yeah, so hurry up!> Maui said via telepathy.

“I can’t believe I’m about to fulfill one of my childhood dreams.” He took off his sneakers and socks, waded through the water, and climbed on Maui’s back.

Now I wasn’t so confident when it came to anything about water. For one thing, I couldn’t swim. But Ryan could swim like a fish. Funny thing for a Fire type, huh? Speaking of types, Terri looked a little too eager to get into that water and onto one of the smaller Lapras’s backs. Riku and Triton climbed up there with Terri, and Kanna climbed on Maui. After watching them get ready to have fun, I decided that it was worth the risk and joined Ryan, Kanna and Kasuizu. Feather once again perched on my shoulder and we were off.

<By the way, my friend’s name is Oahu,> Maui said before we set off. It was a nice medium pace. I could’ve kept up with him if I ran next to him.

<It’s nice to meet you,> Oahu said pleasantly.

“So where are we going?” I asked Feather.

“There are a couple of things I need to show you. One is a clue of what we’re up against. Look in the water.”

I looked and smiled. “Look at all the Chinchou!” There was a whole school of them. The weird thing was that they looked like they were going around the island. “Are they circling the island?”

“Looks like it,” Ryan said.

“They are. Whoever wants to take Terri’s life has sent up surveillance around the island. If you try to leave the island during the night, they will notify their friends and they will all attack.

“Why nighttime? Why not now?”

“That is the nature of the Umbra Demons. They prefer to attack under the cover of night. They know that we are leaving, but they will not make any attempt to get us now.”

“That’s good. Did they tell whatever attacked the airstrip that we were coming?”

“No. The ‘ring leader’ told them. That’s what we’re calling whoever has that Umbra Crystal.”

I yawned. I wanted so much to lie down and enjoy the smooth ride, but Maui’s shell was too hard. I saw that the water was getting very deep and started to get anxious, shaking at the thought of having to try to swim. But Terri seemed to be just fine. In fact, she suddenly dove in and started to swim right beside Oahu. I stared in disbelief. She wasn’t supposed to know how to swim! Then I remembered that she was half Politoed now. “So where are we going now?”

“Somewhere amazing,” Kasuizu said. “A momument of the Light Dragon and the Dark Phoenix that has existed for centuries.”

“Finally we get to see this!” Kanna exclaimed. “Even Riku and I haven’t seen this yet. I wish I brought my computer along. At least I brought my digital camera!”

We all groaned.

darktyranitar
8th September 2005, 09:25 PM
Off to Kumquat Island, they go. I hope that they would have some battle out there...

The last few chapter move in a smooth direction, so it was smooth reading ahead. Daichi is kinda mysterious, I wonder if he had any connection with either Aurora Knight or Umbra Demon. Wonder when Shonta will transform again.

I'll be waiting for the next chapter. And also the next chapter of Dragon's Song. :smilie:Keep writing!

classy_cat18
10th September 2005, 02:20 PM
Still working on Dragon's Song, although I have other things to do. Keep reading, readers!

The Legend of the Aurora Knights

It didn’t take long for us to reach our destination: a dome shaped mountain surrounded by palm trees. If I was paying attention to the ocean while I was on Kumquat Island I would’ve seen it a little to the left. Still, my stomach was getting impatient. “There had better be food where we’re going,” I muttered to myself.

“Just hold on. You’ll have all you can eat after I’m done showing you the place,” Feather told me.

“But I’m hungry now.”

We approached the base of the mountain and something else that caught my eye: an Aurora Mirror. “Okay, how did this get here?”

“Secret, dude,” Triton answered before walking through it. The rest of us followed and went stepped inside something like a cave. The ceiling was high and smooth. It felt cool and damp in there. In the middle of it was a titanic stone statue of a Chinese-style dragon circling a large bird that had its wings outstretched. “This is actually the interior of the mountain.”

“Whoa!” Ryan exclaimed, his voice echoing. “Is that the Light Dragon and Dark Phoenix? How is that stone dragon staying afloat?”

“I’ll show you,” Riku said. He put his hands around the Dark Phoenix key and smiled as something went aglow. The ceiling was covered with Aurora Crystal. The crystal also dotted the wall. The glow revealed something in one of the dragon’s eyes. “That must be the Kai Draco Crystal.”

“Why isn’t someone wearing it?” I asked.

“The inhabitants of the island think that the Kai Draco Crystal is so sacred that it must stay in the place that they found it. They say it protects their island,” Kasuizu explained.

“Who inhabits this place?”

“Dragons.”

“Oh. Duh.”

“Centuries ago, the dragons hollowed out this mountain and carved these statues in honor of what they saw through the Kai Crystal. Here lies the story of the Aurora Crystal, but we haven’t been able to unlock it. You see, we need the keys.”

So this is why none of them have been able to see it. They need both of the keys. “Why didn’t the dragons need the keys to see it?”

“Because the first owner of the Kai Draco Crystal lived here. Since then, each generation of his family has had power over it. They keep it here so it can protect everyone here.”

This is awesome. This is the most awesome place I’ve seen. I looked over at Ryan. The glow from the crystal illuminated his face. It almost made his eyes look like they were glowing.

“Where are the dragons now?” Terri asked.

“They’re hiding in the underwater caves below the island. See, the island was formed by a now extinct volcano. There are a lot of underwater passages on the island. There’s an entrance to them in here,” Triton said. “They don’t even fully trust Aurora Knights.

“Artemis has to see this,” I said as I let her out.

She looked at the statue with eyes wide and an open mouth. “This is…”

“Awesome?” Static finished.

“I was going to say amazing, but awesome seems more appropriate.”

“What is the meaning of this?” a thunderous voice roared. A Dragonite stormed up to us and scowled. “This place is forbidden to outsiders!”

“Feather, you didn’t tell me that!” I hissed. I bowed to the Dragonite. “I’m sorry for trespassing, sir. I didn’t know…”

The Dragonite gently held my Key in one of his hands. “The Light Dragon Key! It’s owner has finally been chosen!” He bowed to me. “I apologize for attempting to chase you out. Some Knights are not to be trusted.” He shot a nasty look to the others. Or maybe to someone specific?

“They’re my friends. They can be trusted.”

“My name is Draco, the owner of the Kai Draco Crystal. You can certainly trust me.”

“Has anybody told you dat name is overkill?” Static asked him. Draco ignored him.

Kanna slapped me and Riku on the back. “What are you waiting for? Let’s get this movie started!” She let out Beacon. “A.C. and D.C. won’t sit still long enough to watch this.” Terri let out Aqua and Riku let out Apollo. Reaper and Ripper chose to stay in Neo Valley so they couldn’t see what was to come.

“All you have to do is give your keys to the dragon and phoenix,” Draco told Riku and me.

I didn’t know what she meant, but I had an idea. I took off the Key and held it out to the stone statues with outstretched hands. The Key levitated and slowly floated to the dragon. It lodged itself in a notch in one of the dragon’s many detailed scales. Riku followed and watched it insert itself in the phoenix’s chest. The eyes from the two monstrous creatures glowed, and the whole mountain lit up. When everything dimmed, all of us were ready to have a heart attack. It was like we were no longer in the mountain, but somewhere outside, somewhere lush and warm. Mountains as high as the Himalayas surrounded us. Sounds of various Pokemon filled the air.

“Where are we now?” Terri asked.

“I don’t know, but I have a good idea when we are,” Kanna replied. She pointed to a brown Scyther-like creature that was walking out of a nearby lake. “That’s a Kabutops. And those are Omanyte.” She pointed to some blue shelled creatures that were relaxing on a rock in the same lake. “Wherever we are, it’s long ago. We’re talking prehistoric.”

I looked up at the sky and covered my mouth. “They’re alive,” I whispered. Up above our heads flew the Light Dragon and Dark Phoenix, looking down at everything like they were gods up on Mt. Olympus.

“This is when the legend began,” Draco started to narrate. “When Pokemon had no reason to war. That was when the first Aurora Crystal fell.”

A tiny pinpoint shot down from the sky and crashed at our feet, leaving a small crater. None of the Pokemon seemed to notice it despite the sound and the crater. Before our eyes the Crystal disappeared into the earth.

“This is near where the Midnight caves are now,” Draco continued.

So this is Neo Valley! I watch everything around us change. The ancient Pokemon disappeared, the mountains shrunk, and the cave appeared to my far left.

“Millions of years passed. Ancient Pokemon died out as the Crystal grew and multiplied underground. They are like plants, and soon they were looking for a different source of energy.”

I gasped as a small, white cat-like creature floated in the cave. Mew! The scene changed to a familiar scene, the big room where Artemis and Cinder received their crystals.

“This Mew was the first one to find the Midnight Caves and the Aurora Crystal. Unfortunately, he was a little too curious.” He watched unblinkingly as the Mew was swallowed by the big Crystal. We all could see it floating in the Crystal, banging on it and mewling pathetically. “Mew and his power were swallowed up by the Crystal, cursed to spend all eternity there.”

“Dat explains the gigglin’,” Static remarked.

Another tiny pinpoint of light shot out from the cave and streaked through the sky. It landed near a pond in a grassy field. There it was found by a young Squirtle. It poked it, sniffed it, and finally held it in its paws. More of its kind walked over to see what its friend found. The held Crystal glowed, took on a blue color, and lodged itself in the belly of the Squirtle’s shell. Later in a Pokemon battle, the Squirtle unleashed a Water Gun that looked like a Feraligatr’s Hydro Pump.

“The Aurora Crystal makes one’s wishes come true. For most Pokemon that find it, that usually means to become more powerful. Unfortunately, for those wishes that are for selfish or even evil gain, there comes a painful price. This poor Squirtle became the first Umbra Demon. And that shard of Crystal soon became the first Umbra Crystal.”

We helplessly watched the Squirtle push others around and take over the pond. It quickly became a fearsome Blastoise. Finally some Raitah had enough of this upstart and ganged up on the Blastoise, shocking the Pokemon into submission and ripping the Crystal out of its body. I looked closer and saw that the leader, a female much like Lady Imani, had an Aurora Crystal embedded in her forehead. “That must’ve been the first Aurora Knight,” I said to myself.

“The Light Dragon and Dark Phoenix witnessed the terrible event of the first Umbra Demon and decided to use the Crystal for their own purpose. They approached the cave and demanded that their souls and power be trapped within Crystals. Because of their power and stature, they became the Light Dragon Key and Dark Dragon Key.”

We all saw them grip the chunk of Crystal in their claws and disappear in an orb of light. The Light Dragon Key and Dark Phoenix Key was picked up by the Raitah and carried off.

“The two legendaries entrusted the keys to two prides of Raitah. Both prides’ descendents survive today. The Light Phoenix Key purifies the souls of those under the influence of the Umbra Crystals. The Dark Phoenix Key…” he trailed off from there.

I got nervous. “What does it do?” I demanded.

“It imprisons those under the influence of the Umbra Crystals.”

My heart skipped a beat. “Imprisons them? How?”

“In Aurora Crystal, like Ripper did with Raikou,” Riku said.

Without thinking, I grabbed Riku’s collar and shook him. “How could you do that? It’s not their fault!”

“They don’t stay like that forever,” he said behind his sunglasses. “Just until the prison of Crystal drains the power of the Umbra Crystal.” His voice was unwavering. “But you heard Draco. It’s their selfish wish that gets them there in the first place.”

“Don’t you feel remorse? Don’t you feel guilty for doing this to them?”

“Sure I do.”

“THEN LET’S SEE IT!” I ripped the sunglasses off his face and stared into his cold blue eyes. For one moment, one crazy moment, I thought his pupils looked different. Like cat eyes. A tear finally rolled down his cheek. “Crocodile tears. I want to go back.”

“But Shonta…” Ryan started.

“I WANT TO GO BACK!” I screamed. I stormed out through the Aurora Mirror and leaned against a tree.

“Shonta? Are you alright?” Ryan asked me as he followed me.

“No! Just when I think we’re a bunch of good guys, I find out about this! Are they aware of the world around them?”

“Actually, no. Draco told me that they go into this deep sleep. They rarely even know that they’ve been imprisoned. The way that Ripper did it was different. Now let’s go see the rest of the place.” He tugged at my sleeve.

I sighed. “You know, I don’t like it when you do that.”

“Do what?”

“When you make my anger disappear.”

classy_cat18
15th September 2005, 12:31 AM
darktyranitar: This chapter should explain your question.

On another note, I couldn’t find a clever name for this chapter so here comes…

Chapter 19

Draco led us downstairs to the underbelly of Melon Island. Oh yeah, it was the hollow island with the Light Dragon and Dark Phoenix statues. The island looked like a bald green head because of the grass on the hill. We first walked by what looked like a set of jail cells. Inside each cell was a Pokemon with an Umbra Crystal embedded somewhere in its body. “These are our prisoners, the ones that let their opened their darkest desires to the Umbra Crystal,” Draco said with a grim voice.

“I didn’t know that Pokemon had dark desires. Ever since my Doolittle complex came back, Pokemon seem more like humans every day. Both in good and bad ways,” I said softly. “Hey, I have a question. Ripper did the same thing to Raikou a while back. How did he do it?”

“Ripper’s Umbra Crystal was so powerful that it had some of the powers of the Dark Phoenix Key. It wasn’t as powerful as the Dark Phoenix Key, however. But remember this: although the Dark Phoenix Key does use dark energy, it isn’t evil.”

Wow. The connection of the Umbra Crystals to the Dark Phoenix Key is scary. I stopped in front of a cell containing a Venusaur and stared at it. It had its eyes closed as if it knew what was coming. I started to leave it, but the sound of something similar to an egg hatching reached my ears. “Draco, he’s coming out!”

Draco hurried back to Venusaur. “The Umbra Crystal has finally transformed back! The Venusaur is no longer under the influence.”

“Yeesh, remind me never to get drunk around dis place,” Static joked.

The crystal surrounding Venusaur had cracks racing along every inch of it. Finally it all shattered, and Venusaur was released. He opened his eyes and looked around the place. The Crystal in his forehead looked green, a Flora Crystal. “Where…am I?” he groaned. Static had a point; the guy looked like he was suffering from a hangover. He staggered to the cell bars and looked at us pitifully. “Why am I here?”

Draco opened his mouth but I beat him to the punch. “You looked like you were sick, so we brought you here. We’ll take you back. Umm, where do you live?”

He sniffed the air. “Around here.”

I rubbed my forehead. “Not specific enough. Draco, could you drop him off back home?” He nodded. “He knows. You’ll be dreaming back at your home in no time.”

“Dreaming.” He stared off into space. “It was like I was having a bad dream. I was surrounded in darkness, with no one to talk to or even hear or see. I was missing sunshine. How long was I out?”

“For a while.” It was vague enough to work. Draco had another of the Dragonites take him home. The smile he gave me as he saw his home through the large Aurora Mirror at the end of the corridor made him smile. I waved as he left us. “Now what?”

We continued our tour and ended up going down another staircase that was carved from the dome. We stopped at an underground lake. The water was crystal clear; we could see down forever. I noticed that there was a large cave at the far end. “That is the only entrance from the outside,” Draco told us. “That is, for the non-Knights. There are many entrances from the outside, but they entwine and twist and have many dead ends, making it impossible for many Pokemon to find this entrance.” He chuckled. “But we inhabitants of Melon Island can find our way easily.”

“This isn’t very far from the human-inhabited island,” Artemis commented. “How do you know that you won’t be disturbed?”

“The humans have declared this protected by the Orange Crew, especially by the leader Drake. Plus we are the most powerful that anyone has ever seen.”

“You surely aren’t modest,” she said with a chuckle.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ *~*~

We left on Maui and Oahu and went back to Kumquat Island. Terri was full of comments about the tour, but I was silent. Full of concern about Venusaur and the other Pokemon that was contained in the crystal. According to Draco, the crystal absorbed the dark energy from the Umbra Crystal and destroyed itself when its job was done. The time it took to do it depended on the strength of the Umbra Crystal. Luckily for Venusaur, it was very weak so it only took it a couple of days to drain the dark energy. But still…it was hard to imagine that sweet Pokemon as being evil.

I leaned against Ryan and sighed. This won’t happen again now that I’m here.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ *~*~

“We got us a DVD!” Terri announced as she and Kanna met us in the room. We sent them for a movie and pizza from the parlor down the street. For some reason Terri thought it was a good idea for me to stay in the room with Ryan, Riku, and the Pokemon. The adults were having dinner in the five-star restaurant and I wasn’t a fan of fancy food. Surprisingly, neither was Riku.

“What did you get?” Ryan asked eagerly.

“Final Destination 2.” She gave an evil laugh.

“Great. I’m gonna barf my Pokechow,” Static grumbled.

My appetite nearly vanished into thin air. “Um, don’t you think we need a more lighthearted movie?” I asked. “I’ve already seen a person sliced to bits. I got Liar Liar.”

“Alright! Jim Carey to the rescue!” He climbed up on the bed.

We laughed, we cried (from laughing too hard). We were about to see the “the pen is red, the pen is blue” bit when the TV screen went blank and the lights went out. “Oh man! The power’s down!” Riku exclaimed. “Now what do we do?”

“First we get some light in here,” Kanna answered. “Beacon, would you do the honors?”

A bright flash lit up the room. Beacon turned her turned on tail this way and that, checking out the room. “AAH!” she screamed, pointing at a corner of the room. In that corner, sleeping like a baby, was Ripper.

“Ripper, how did you get here? When did you get here?” Ryan asked him.

His eyes fluttered open. “I hitched a ride from Melon Island. All I had to do was drop your names to that Maui guy and he was more than happy to do it.” He snapped his head to the door. “Someone’s outside.”

“Ripper, it’s a hotel. Of course there’s someone outside.”

I slowly turned my attention to the window facing the city. Something was wrong with the picture. “Guys? Does it ever snow in the Orange Islands?” I asked them.

Kanna ran up to the window. “Not here it doesn’t! Something’s wrong with this picture!” See what I meant? “What’s happening here?”

“Um, does the phrase ‘Umbra Demon’ come to mind? It’s night, you know.”

“But in a city like this?”

Ripper stood up and walked to the door. “There’s someone on the other side and it’s not a human.”

Static stood beside him and crossed his arms. “Didn’t Ryan say it was a hotel? Pokemon are allowed here.”

Ripper bonked him on the head. “Hush! You know what I mean! Everyone, hide!” He crouched in front of the door, deadly silent.

Finally I heard footsteps outside the door. Footsteps and growling. I kept telling myself what my gut instinct denied, that it was just another of the Pokemon tourists and not an Umbra Demon. The Key shone brightly, and I could feel the transformation coming. The footsteps grew louder and ended right on the other side of the door. Ripper stood up and smashed the door with one blow of his claw. On the other side stood an enormous Feraligatr, ready to fight. “Surrender the owner of the Kai Aqua Crystal,” it growled.

“You can’t have me, but the crystal’s all yours!” Terri told him.

I elbowed her. “We’re not giving him anything!”

“Silence, you fool!” Feraligatr roared. “That Crystal shard means nothing to my mistress without the death of the owner!”

Terri gulped. “You guys are sadistic!”

I couldn’t stop the transformation of the Key. I fell on all fours and felt itching as my fur grew and my clothes disappeared. A jolt of electricity shot out of me and hit Feraligatr square in the chest. He crashed into the far wall. “Everyone get out!” I cried while still transforming. “I’ll handle this bozo!”

Kanna shook her head. “Too small a job. I’ll clear the building of all these Pokemon and find your parents. Something tells me that we’ll need the Key where you’ll be going.” Her Shock Crystal shone, and she transformed into an Ampharos identical to Beacon.

“And that place would be…”

“Melon Island,” Riku said while growing a two pronged tail. “The snow and the Feraligatr sent here to get us add up to a siege of Melon Island.” He finished his transformation and sat next to me, an elegant Espeon. The others transformed into their forms.

Of course! Ice weakens the Dragon Pokemon that live there! We dashed out of the room and down the stairs instead of the elevator. Strangely there were no Pokemon standing in our way. Whoever sent them was not doing a good job in stopping us. At least, that was what I thought until I got to the hotel exit. There a group of Chinchou was waiting for us. “Stop! We will not allow you to go any further!” they shouted.

“How cute,” I sneered. I let loose a Thunderbolt that struck all of them, but they all remained unscathed. In fact, they looked more energized. “Okay, what happened?”

“It is their Volt Absorb trait. Electric attacks can only heal them,” Riku said. He stepped forward and unleashed a Confusion attack on the Chinchou and blowing them away from the door.

We exited the hotel and begun our run to the cove. Halfway there Terri was slowing down so I had to give her a ride on my back. We got there and got the shock of our lives. For one thing the dome looked like it was frosted over, maybe even frozen. Another thing was there was a thin layer of mist surrounding the island, bringing with it a slight cold. Final thing was the long stretch of ice that seemed like it traveled from the cove all the way to Melon Island. “I think someone’s inviting us,” I said.

“No way. We have to think this through,” Ryan said. “It has to be an ambush.”

“As much as I agree with youse, I don’t wanna stand around and have Draco and the others frozen in a block of ice,” Static said boldly.

Two long shapes slithered in the water toward us. Out popped the heads and long necks of Gyarados. “Our mistress wants you to come with us,” one of them said.

Static once again crossed his arms. “I don’t think we want to.”

“You are risking the lives of your fellow Knights. Now please follow us.” They dove back into the water. Static gave a little shrug and we followed them on the ice path.

“I guess we wouldn’t have gone anywhere if we charged in there with guns blazing,” Artemis whispered. “After all, we’re short a couple of electric members.”

“Whoever’s doing this is quite the amateur,” Apollo grumbled.

“Hello! I’m going to be killed!” Terri shouted, still on my back.

“We could’ve taken ‘em,” Static mumbled. “I bet Draco and the others are alright.”

classy_cat18
19th September 2005, 12:05 PM
The Great Mistress

We walked across the icy path, our paws getting numb. Twice I had to stop Terri from laying down on me and sleeping. None of us said anything. Even Static stayed silent, although he looked like he had a lot to say. Halfway across, we saw Maui, Oahu, and several more Lapras floating on both sides of the path looking solemn. They raised their heads as we walked by. Maui opened his mouth to say something, but closed it. “What is it you’re going to say?” Apollo growled. “Are you sorry that you betrayed us?”

I stopped in my tracks, shocked. Betrayal in the Aurora Knights? How can that be? I walked back to Maui and looked into one of his eyes. “Did you really betray us?” I asked him softly.

He looked away. A big tear rolled down his face. <I don’t remember! Please don’t look at me like that!> He swam down the path slowly while I ran beside him. <Okay, the last thing I remember was going back to my school after I dropped you guys off. The next thing I know, there’s some cloaked figure shouting orders at me!>

Terri yawned. “I’m getting tired.”

“How can you be? You’re riding on my back,” I told her.

“Yeah, but there’s something in this air. Smells heavy.” She yawned again.

My legs got heavy and I stopped walking. I remembered the time Ripper first came to Sunflower Town and brought that miasma with him. This was no different. The mist surrounding the island is miasma in disguise! I panted in exhaustion. Everything was getting dark. I finally succumbed to the darkness.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ *~*~*~

“Wakey wakey…”

I froze as the owner of the voice lightly brushed my face. I looked at a pair of shoes and then up at Riku’s face. “If you don’t stop touching me, I’ll tell Mom,” I mumbled.

“And that’ll stop me how?” He ran his face under my chin and backed away.

“You’re right. I can kick your butt all by myself now.” I got up and instantly noticed that we were in the jail cells of Melon Island. What was surprising was that I noticed that I was human again and so was Riku. I looked around the jail cell. No one else was in it. “Why are we here?”

An Azumarril walked to us and stood on the other side of the bars. “You are my enemies. Duh!” She laughed shrilly.

I couldn’t help but crack a smile. “Okay. What crackpot Umbra Demon put you on his team?”

Her face twisted in anger and her ears twitched furiously. “I’m the crackpot Umbra Demon you’re talking about! I am…Mistress Bubbles!” She laughed again.

We laughed along with her, but not for the same reason. “Your name is Bubbles? Oh, how scary!” Riku laughed.

Bubbles just smirked. “Oh, you’re laughing at it now. You won’t be after my lackeys are done with you! That weakling Ripper doesn’t have anything on me!”

“At least Ripper had an army of formidable Pokemon to stop us. But a Feraligatr and Chinchou? I’m a Raitah, not a Pichu.”

“You were a Raitah. Now you’re just a weak little human and you’re going to stay that way as long as the miasma’s in the air!” She started to laugh again and stopped in midair. “What do you mean ‘a Feraligatr and Chinchou’?”

“All that was there to stop us was a Feraligatr and a bunch of Chinchou. Nothing else.”

“WHAT!?! MINIONS, COME HERE NOW!” She stormed off.

“Apollo was right. She’s a rookie,” Riku said calmly. “Now what, Shonta?”

I leaned against the wall. I had no idea what to do. My energy was all but gone and my Key was zapped of its energy too. If I did get out of the cell I would be in serious trouble. I was new at this, and I didn’t feel like I was making a good first impression. I threw my hands up. “I’m empty. What about you?”

“I’m okay, actually. My Key is unaffected by the miasma. Artemis should be okay as well.”

Artemis must know that there’s too much at stake if she tries to escape by herself. “That still doesn’t make everything better.” I looked down at the Light Dragon Key. It was glowing brighter than ever. “I thought it was out of power.”

“It could be that someone is still awake and giving you their power. But who?”

I stuck my head out through the bars. Across from me were Ryan and Terri, out like a light. The Pokemon were nowhere to be seen. Where were the dragons? Draco didn’t seem like the kind to retreat. He was more like the ‘give me liberty or give me death’ kind. Oh boy. That didn’t make me feel better. I heard footsteps. A Dragonite trudged past our cell, looking gloomy. It wasn’t Draco, but one of his friends. But he didn’t seem right. “He’s under Bubble’s control! We have to get rid of this miasma!”

“There is a way. We have to defeat that Azumarril.” His face lit up. “I have an idea, and you’re it! There’s another form that the Key can give you, called Anthro Mode. It doesn’t take as much power as being a full-blooded Pokemon.”

I held the Key at the palm of my hand. “It sounds like it will only turn me into a half-Pokemon. Oh well, I’m up for it. What do I do?”

“Just let the Key do its job,” he told me.

That’s the last thing I heard as my ears were sucked into my head. My hands and butt started to itch. Fur grew on my hands and my skin got loose. I felt a sharp sensation as a long tail burst out of my backside and out of my jeans. My gums itched as my canines grew. I opened my mouth and ran a finger along on of them, accidentally pricking it. Vampire quality teeth. My ears finally grew out of the top sides of my head, long and pointy. I took off my shoes and socks and found out that the soles of my feet were now rock hard. My toenails were as long and pointy as my teeth.

Next came my new hands. They now looked like cat paw gloves. I tried to pull them off, but the tips of my fingers were glued to them. The gloves looked exactly like my Raitah paws. “I look like Gatomon,” I commented. “Hey, why aren’t you doing this? A Psychic type would probably have a better time fighting these Demons.”

“I don’t have the speed. Believe me; you’ll need it.”

Finally came my eyes. My vision blurred for a second but came back sharper than ever. I rose to my feet, feeling reenergized. “Let’s do this,” I growled. I raised a paw but Riku stopped me.

“Unless you want a broken paw, my little lion, you’ll drop it and think of another way out.”

I brought my paw back to my side. “Little lion? If that’s a pet name for me then you’ll be the one with a broken paw.” I leaned against the wall as another Dragonite walked past. As soon as he was gone I tried sliding them up like Draco did. They were too heavy. “Would Faint Attack work?”

“It’s worth a try.”

I concentrated and watched my own body disappear. I walked up to the bars and reached out with my paw. I couldn’t see it, but I knew that it went through the bars. I took a deep breath and walked forward until the bars were behind me. “I did it!” I exclaimed as I went back to being visible.

“What are you doing outside your cage?” a voice said behind me. Another Dragonite was standing there with his arms crossed.

“You did it alright,” Riku muttered.

I took off on two legs toward the underwater exit, all the time feeling the dragon’s breath on my skin. Riku was right. I never knew how fast these guys are. My heart was pounding almost as fast as my feet. I felt pain down my back as the Dragonite slashed it. I couldn’t go any faster! I approached the lake and halted. Bubbles was there with a bunch of Water-type Pokemon. The Chinchou, Feraligatr, Gyarados, and many others.

Bubbles took one look at me and gasped in surprise. “What are you? You can’t be that human that I put in the cage!” she shrieked.

“I am. Now if you don’t want to be electrocuted, I suggest you let my friends go.” I lunged for her but was caught by the Dragonite. He put a claw to my throat.

“If you don’t want yourself and your friends killed, I suggest you come with me.” He looked at Bubbles.

“Splendid idea! Do what you wish!” she said gleefully. She hopped in the water. “I will take a little swim while you have fun with the prisoners. Come with me, minions!”

The Dragonite chuckled and carried me away. He walked in a jail cell and slid the bars. “Now you’re all mine,” he told me as he spun me around.

I put my paws on him and gave him a shock. He yelled something as he writhed in pain. I stopped. “What did you say?” I asked him.

He dropped to the ground, panting. “I said…that I’m…not a…Demon,” he panted.

I put a paw to him. There was no dark aura around him, and every Umbra Demon has a certain dark aura that sensitive beings can sense. “Who are you and how did you get here?”

“I’m Icarus, a student of the ways of the Aurora Knight.” He pointed to the Aurora Crystal that was embedded in his arm. “I pretended that I was one of the dragons under control. The Kai Draco Crystal is protecting both me and you. That Azumarril is quite the rookie.”

“Yeah, Riku said that. So how did she do this in the first place?”

“This dark mist just appeared out of nowhere. It was very cold and thick. We were weakened. That was when they attacked! You may not know it, but almost all of those Pokemon was equipped with super strong Water attacks and Ice attacks!” He slammed his fist into the wall. “They completely froze Master Draco!”

“They froze Draco!?!”

Tears started streaming down from his eyes. “I watched it with my very eyes. It won’t take it long to…”

“Don’t say that! We’ll get him out. But we’ll need the others’ help. First get me outside so I can get rid of this miasma.” I put a hand on his head. “Bubbles may be able to create more, but something tells me she doesn’t know how.”

He wiped away the tears and nodded. “Thank you, Lady Shonta.” He opened the bars and walked out. “Hop on my back and I will take you to the best place to disperse the miasma.”

Ride on a Dragonite’s back? Should I live the dream of every Pokemon Master? I climbed on his back and watched his wings flap a few times. They flapped hard one time and lifted both of us in the air. Some invisible force pushed us forward and we were racing! This was the equivalent of Feather’s Quick Attack! We burst out of the Aurora Mirror and started to rise in the mist. I held on tightly as we gained altitude, feeling myself slide down his back a bit and also feeling the miasma overcoming me again. We finally landed on the top of the Melon Island dome.

“Try here,” Icarus said. He heard me yawn. “Oh no!”

I stopped in mid-yawn. “That’s okay. Just promise me that you’ll go and get the Aurora Knights Kanna and Beacon if I ever pass out. They are on Kumquat Island.”

“I promise, Lady Shonta.”

“Please just call me Shonta.” I raised my hands to the sky. “I command this evil miasma to be no more!” Not exactly what was needed, but it gave it a nice touch. The mist slowly disappeared and I felt my energy return. “Now let’s get the others out before Bubbles figures it out.”

Icarus pointed to some dark shapes in the water. “Something tells me that they already know.”

“Okay. Let’s get this show on the road!”

darktyranitar
19th September 2005, 12:40 PM
Ah-ha, finally we get to see the Umbra Demon...Bubble is a pretty funny name for a supposedly powerful Umbra Demon, but it's appropiate for an Azumarill. She make you wanna laugh when you see her trying to act tough. Somehow, I think she is far stronger than she appears to be...The miasma remind me to the barrier of Hakurei Mountain in Inuyasha (it repels/ weaken demons or half-demon around the mountain)

Finally, some action! I expect to see more battling in the future chapter. Alright, see you later! :smilie:

classy_cat18
20th September 2005, 08:38 PM
darktyranitar: Thanks for the reply. I was going for a ridiculous villain. I like my villains to have a broad range of personalities.

Terri’s Big Rumble

Icarus and I ran back to Riku’s cell. Icarus lifted the bars like a garage door. “Ah, you’re back. Who’s he?” Riku asked, pointing a thumb at Icarus.

I chuckled. “A friend. What, are you jealous?”

He gave a fake pout. “Maybe. Do you know where the others are?”

“I do,” Icarus spoke up. He pointed to a cell just a couple meters down. A hand reached out and gave a thumbs up: Ryan.

“Shonta! You’re back!” Ryan shouted.

“What’s with the Dragonite? I thought he was with Bubbles,” Artemis said to me. She glared at Icarus with narrowed eyes.

“He was playing her like a sap,” I replied. “He’s cool. Let ‘em out, Icarus.” Icarus bowed and lifted the bars like a garage door.

“Thanks for comin’ back for us,” Static told me as he walked out of his cell. “WHAT TOOK YOUSE SO LONG!?! AND WHAT’S WITH THE GET UP?”

“Yeah, you look like Gatomon,” Ryan said with a chuckle.

I looked over at Riku and smiled. “I was right. I do look like Gatomon. It’s my Anthro Mode. Everyone has one. Now we should plan on what to do with Bubbles when she gets back.”

“How about we just forget about this whole thing and go back?” Cinder whimpered.

Static grabbed the sides of his head and forced Cinder to look at him. “Look, youse coward. I’m sick and tired of bein’ under the paw of a water rabbit named Bubbles. Doesn’t dat make you mad?”

“Not really.”

“Makes me mad,” Terri grumbled.

Static pushed Cinder away. The Raichu’s pride was obviously bruised having been imprisoned under a Water-type. Seeing her will probably send him into a fighting frenzy, putting him at risk. “We’re not going anywhere, you two. Fighting her seems to be the only way of making this right,” I said to Cinder.

“But why? My strength is returning. That means the energy-draining aura is gone.”

“Didn’t you hear me, Cinder? She’s coming back! She can bring back the aura easily. We have to stop her! And didn’t you forget our parents?”

Cinder whimpered again as he rubbed his face with his paws. I could’ve let him go inside his pokeball. He would, after all, be of little help in the fight. And I’m sure he didn’t know how to swim. But we needed every Knight in this.

“Lady Shonta? I believe I can hear them coming,” Icarus interrupted.

I held my head high and tried to look as bold as I could. “Okay, guys. Let’s give ‘em hell!” We took off down the corridor as fast as we could. My heart was pumping double time with excitement. Usually I would almost be on Cinder’s side. But my mom’s life was on the line. And not just my mom’s. I was not going to pretend nothing was happening when I had the power to stop it.

I turned at the end of the corridor to go down the steps leading to the underwater exits when I ran into Bubbles and her posse of Dragonite. All of their eyes were aimed at me and Icarus. Bubbles marched up to me like she was something big and frightening. “What are you doing out of your cell?” she asked me in her high pitched voice. “And what is this Dragonite doing with you?”

“I rather take orders from Lady Shonta than you,” Icarus growled.

“Why, you traitorous dragon! I oughta feed you to my pet Gyarados!” She hopped up and down, the thumping sounds bouncing off the walls.

“I’ll kill you first, demon.”

“No. I’ll do it,” Terri said from the back. She pushed her way to Bubbles. “No need for all of us to fight. It’s too cramped in here. How about one-on-one? Winner takes all.”

A wicked grin appeared on Bubbles face. “Winner takes all, eh?” She scratched her chin. “You’re on!” She ran down the steps and stopped at the bottom of them. Putting her palms up, she summoned a blue sphere. The sphere shot out a white beam that froze the surface of the pool, save for a small hole. “We’ll fight on this. And to make it more interesting…” She tapped the ice. A school of Sharpedo rushed out of the many underwater tunnels, gnashing their teeth.

“The loser is Sharpedo chow!” she said gleefully. “And no help from the Peanut Gallery!” She threw her head back and laughed.

My stomach did flip-flops. My mind raced. Ohmigod, she could get killed! My cousin Terri could get killed! What am I going to do? I gotta go in her place! I opened my mouth to speak but it was like something had stolen my voice. Nothing came out but a little wheeze.

“Oh, that is so cliché it hurts,” Ryan whispered. Then he went to Terri, saying the thing that I had meant to say. “Are you sure you want to do this? You’re risking a lot, you know.”

Terri crossed her arms. “This rabbit has been getting on my nerves and I am not going to let her push me around. Bring it on, Ms. Bunny.”

“But it’s your first battle!” I blurted out.

“Shonta? Let someone else be the hero for once.”

They walked down the steps and carefully stepped on the ice. I immediately noticed a problem. See, Bubbles was walking across the ice like a model down a runway. Terri was slipping and sliding across the ice like a fool. I sighed. “We’re in trouble,” I groaned.

“Have faith in your cousin,” Ryan told me. “You know she’s tougher than she looks.” He watched her turn into a Politoed. “No matter what form she’s in,” he added with a grin.

It made me feel a little better. I remembered when I was in junior high when Tony and his gang cornered me in an empty hall in the school. I was on a bathroom break, so Ryan was still in class. No one was around to help me. Just when he was about to pound my face in, there was Terri, her hands crossed and smiling like she was a big hero. “I take one day off of school to see my little cousin and here you punks are about to beat her up,” she said. There was something about her that made those guys back off. She wasn’t muscular or tall, but the way she carried herself and looked at those guys like she meant business proved to me that she was sort of a big hero. She didn’t save my life, but she did save my pride that day.

“Give her hell,” I encouraged her softly.

Bubbles inhaled and forced out a Water Gun. Terri ducked but still got the full force of the attack and got sent flying. She landed on her butt and slid and spun for a few seconds. Which was pretty amusing, by the way. She didn’t look hurt. She just blinked at Bubbles with confusion. “I thought that was supposed to hurt me,” Terri said.

“It was! It was!” Bubbles shrieked.

“What happened?” I asked from the nosebleed section.

“It must be Water Absorb,” Riku said. “Instead of losing energy when she gets hit by water attacks, she’ll get stronger.”

“Oh. Okay.” I returned to the battle. Bubbles regained her composure. She took a few running steps, dove, and rolled into a Rollout attack. She headed straight for Terri, who panicked and dove to the side desperately. Fortunately, the attack missed her. Unfortunately, Bubbles was trying to turn back around. She wasn’t able to, though, since the ice was too slippery. She slid on her side and crashed into the wall!

“Ooh, that’s gonna hurt in the morning,” Static joked.

She didn’t have time. Up in the ceiling, large chunks of rocks were being freed from the ceiling. Both of the battlers looked up with wide eyes. They weren’t moving! “Move, Terri!” I cried out.

Terri tried to run, but she was still having trouble on the ice. Bubbles, on the other hand, was actually skating to the hole in the ice. She dove in safely just as the first big rock landed right in the middle of the ice. I could only watch as the rock split the ice in half and crashed into the water with a mighty splash. But I wasn’t worried; Terri managed to move enough to miss the rock by a long shot.

The ice cracked and separated. Now the Pokemon were battling on ice packs instead of a sheet of ice. Terri sat on one of them, looking around frantically for Bubbles. I peered in the cracks and saw a blue blur coming straight for her. “Terri, she’s after you!” I yelled.

Terri started run, but stopped, knowing that that won’t get her anyway. She instead hopped to the nearest ice pack. Bubbles stopped in her tracks. All of us were quiet for a whole minute while we waited for her next move. Terri looked ready for anything. She wasn’t ready for what came next.

My Raitah ears perked as a high pitched sound reached my ears. The next thing I knew, a shark fin made of water was racing for Terri! “Oh man, Water Pulse!” Static shouted.

Terri hopped to another ice pack just as the watery fin hit the one she was previously on and shattered it to bits. Terri stared at the blue ears that were sticking out of the water and gulped. She looked terrified. Another shark fin of water came for her. “What now?” she asked us as she hopped from ice pack to ice pack. Soon she would run out of them.

I frantically looked at my teammates, looked for answers. All of them were stammering. “Come on, guys! My cousin needs help!” I nearly sobbed. Although Raitah couldn’t cry, I still expected tears to stream down my spotted face.

Ryan opened his mouth to say something but closed it again. But Static had an idea. “Don’t just hop! Punch her lights out!” he yelled angrily.

“But she won’t let me attack!” Terri yelled back as she avoided another Water Pulse.

“WATER ATTACKS WON’T HURT YOUSE!”

She stopped. “You’re right!” She started hopping for Bubbles, zigzagging to avoid her attacks. The ears drifted backwards as Terri got closer. Finally she tried to swim away, but Terri grabbed her ears and yanked her out of the water. “You’re dead, bunny.” She drew her fist back and held it there, eyes stuck on Bubbles. The fist shot forward, surrounded by white light. It hit Bubbles right between the eyes. We all watched her fly through the air and landed on her back in the water. She didn’t move, just sank into the underground pool.

“I think that fall knocked the wind out of her,” Riku said, not caring that Bubbles could drown if no one did something about it. “Nice Focus Punch, though.”

Terri looked down in the water with a neutral look on her face. That, however, turned to intense fear. “The Sharpedo will be coming!” she cried out.

I shifted uneasily. Do we let her die, or do we save her? I closed my eyes and looked away. I heard a splash. A hand gripped my shoulder. I opened my eyes, and Ryan let go of my shoulder. “What happened?” I asked him.

He said nothing but pointed to the pool. Terri wasn’t on the ice, but partially submerged. She was holding Bubbles. She dragged her to the ice pack and started CPR. On the bottom of the pool was a bunch of disappointed Sharpedo. She saved her. Thank God she saved her. I knew she was an Umbra Demon but she was still a Pokemon.

Static and I walked down the steps and stopped at the bottom of them. Terri looked at me with bright eyes as she changed back to her human form. “Did I do the right thing?” she asked me.

“Of course you did,” I said in relief.

“Good, because I had a huge attack of conscious there.”

“Why did she save her?” Static nearly sobbed. “Why?”

“What do you have against Bubbles?” I asked him.

“She’s a Demon! A freakin’ Umbra Demon!” He hopped up and down in anger, looking exactly like Bubbles. “Once she wakes up she’ll try to kill us all again!”

“Not if I have something to say about it. Icarus, could you come down here and get Bubbles’s Crystal?” Icarus glided down and plucked the Crystal from Bubbles’s neck. “Now what are we going to do about her?”

“We’re goin’ to push her back in the water with dose Sharpedo, that’s what!” Static raged.

Bubbles’s head quickly snapped to us. “I heard that,” she said groggily.

“I don’t care! Terri, do something!”

Terri stood over Bubbles as though she was going to do what Static suggested. Instead she took out a pokeball and pressed it against Bubbles’s forehead. “You’re mine, rabbit,” Terri said grimly. Bubbles’s shuddered and whimpered some inaudible words as she was drawn inside the pokeball. She was caught. “Don’t say anything, Static. You know that letting her die wouldn’t have been the right way to go.”

Static gave her a hard look. “If she goes Demon on us again, it’s your fault. Understand?”

I smiled and looked up. All the other Dragonite were coming to. So were the Sharpedo that were swimming below us. Our mission was complete. Everyone’s green yards were safe now that Bubbles wasn’t threatening to mess up all the flora. All it took was a single Focus Punch. Kinda anti-climatic, wasn’t it?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ *~*~*~

“This had to be the worst vacation I went on. You’ll be hearing from me soon,” Daichi complained to the receptionist. He turned to Kanna. “But thank you for helping me dispel those rogue Pokemon.”

“Excuse me? Helping?” I asked Kanna.

“He’s actually a good trainer,” she replied shyly.

We took the limo back to the plane, disappointed that we were leaving the day after we came. We came back to the island to find that, not only were the Pokemon that were attacking the island were retreating, but they were beaten badly. Our parents were exhausted and shaken up but okay. Now we were looking at the once again sunny surroundings with heavy hearts.

We stopped at the airport. Riku climbed out first and held out a hand to me. “Come on out,” he said softly.

“She can get out by herself, thank you,” Ryan grumbled.

I took Riku’s hand anyway and immediately wished I hadn’t. His skin was soft and smooth, pleasant to the touch. Not like Ryan’s rough hands. I wriggled my hand free from his grasp and got out of the limo by myself. “Stop being such a gentleman,” I grumbled.

We loaded onto the plane and took off. Everyone sat in the same place, Terri bragged to our parents about the Azumarril that she captured, Kanna silently typed in her laptop, and I once more leaned on Ryan’s shoulder. But this time Ryan didn’t seem so comfortable.

classy_cat18
24th September 2005, 07:06 PM
This chapter will be in Ryan’s point of view.

Guardians and Rookies

I lay my head on my pillow and sighed. It was the day after we left Kumquat Island. For some reason I hadn’t felt like talking to Shonta since then. Was I mad at her? Couldn’t be! There was no reason to be mad at her! Except I did feel a pang of jealousy when Riku let her out of the car. The way she looked at him…

“Hey Ryan? Could you quit your growling?” Ripper asked me.

I growled even louder. Why did I care that Riku was putting the moves on Shonta? It wasn’t that I had special feelings for her.

“Hello! Stop the growling please!” Ripper said in a louder voice.

Maybe I do and just denying it. I mean, we’ve known each other for so long. How can I not feel anything for her? I heard footsteps and saw a red claw wave itself in front of my eyes. “What is it, Ripper?” I groaned.

“What is with you, man? You’ve been moping like this ever since we got back from our vacation! It’s bugging me!”

Cinder raised his head from his paws. “What’s wrong with you? Why haven’t we gone to Shonta’s house yet?”

A small smile appeared on Ripper’s lips. “Yeah, you’re right. In fact I bet it has something to do with Shonta. So spill!”

I sat up and sighed. I didn’t want to explain my feelings right now to my Pokemon, especially Ripper. He wouldn’t understand. “It’s nothing, really. I just don’t want to talk to her right now. But I guess I should at least IM her.” I went to my computer and connected to the internet, immediately notified of a new E-mail from Riku. I reluctantly opened it up. He wanted me to go to Neo Valley for my guardian. Guardian? What does he mean by that? The E-mail also read for me to tell Shonta and Terri about this.

“Soooo…what are we going to do?” Ripper asked me while he looked over my shoulder.

“Let’s go.” I turned off the computer and left the house. Sunflower Town looked docile when there weren’t Umbra Demons trashing the place. It still would’ve been important to be careful about what you say or do around the place.

Shonta smiled as I approached her backyard. It was a warm welcoming smile, one that didn’t care that I didn’t talk to her today. I smiled back, relieved that she was so casual. It helped me to think of her the way that I always did. “Hey Ryan. We were about to let Bubbles out for some air. Want to watch?” she asked.

I nodded. What she was saying was that it was time to purge Bubbles and her Crystal of the dark aura. “Sure.” I leaned against the tree and crossed my fingers. “Good luck.”

Ripper gave me a look. “You sure got better really fast.”

Terri let out Bubbles, who blinked with the sun in her eyes before glaring at us. She seemed to be surrounded by a dark aura similar to the one that surrounded the Umbra Crystals. “Well, so you finally decided to let me out of that thing! Don’t think for one second that I’m going to go easy on you this time! I’m ready for another go now that you’ve healed me at the Pokemon Center!” Bubbles cried in determination.

“No one’s coming. We better do this quick,” I told Shonta seriously.

“Aqua, Tackle,” Terri commanded. Aqua ran and tackled Bubbles to the ground.

“Static, Thunder Wave,” Shonta said grimly. Aqua jumped off Bubbles just in time to avoid being paralyzed. Shonta walked up to Bubbles and put my hands over her. “Crystal, purify this Demon so that she may live her life in peace.” Later she would tell me that she didn’t know how she came up with that. It just came out. It was almost like she had no control over what she said.

The Key glowed even brighter this time, enveloping Bubbles and Shonta in an orb of light. I shielded my eyes from the light by closing them. The orb of light dimmed and disappeared. I opened my eyes and smiled. Bubbles’s dark aura had dimmed but it hadn’t disappeared. “How are you feeling, Bubbles?” I asked her.

She laughed shrilly. “That’s it? That was a joke! What did you do to me?” she asked Shonta.

Shonta blinked. “I don’t know. Maybe the Key wasn’t strong enough to completely get rid of the aura.”

Ripper grinned. “Oh, it’ll be gone alright. Just give it time. She’ll mellow out whether she likes it or not.”

Bubbles pounded her paws on the ground. “No! I don’t want to mellow out!” she screamed. “What are you doing to my precious Crystal?”

Shonta smiled wickedly as she closed her fist around Bubbles’s Crystal. “Purifying it,” she said slyly. A beam of light shot from the Dragon Key and through the cracks between her fingers. Shonta opened her hand again. There was no dark aura, just a normal Aqua Crystal. “There we go!”

Bubbles cried out as if she was in pain. “No! My plans for world domination have gone down the drain!”

“Soon so shall your feelings about world domination,” Ripper said. “Don’t worry. You’ll like being nice.”

Terri returned Bubbles before she could continue her crying. “Man, she’s going to get on my nerves,” Terri groaned.

I slowly walked up to Shonta and put a hand on her shoulder. “Riku sent me an e-mail. He says to meet him in Neo Valley.”

Shonta turned around to face me. “Alrighty then.” She slapped me on the back as hard as she could and started to walk off. When she noticed that I wasn’t following her, she turned around. “What are you waiting for? Riku may be waiting for us there!”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Riku was waiting for us, and so was Kanna. With them were my dad and Magma, as well as a bunch of Aurora Knights of all ranks. “Welcome Knights,” Magma said boldly. “You are here just in time for the meeting.”

I gave my dad a high five. “Which reminds me. What kind of meeting is this?” I asked him.

“Sit down and you’ll find out,” he replied.

I sat down on the grass beside Shonta and her Pokemon. Magma paced in front of us a few times before speaking. “As you may have known, the human Aurora Knights will be traveling to Ecruteak City to further their studies,” he spoke. At once, some of the rookies that I remembered from the first time I visited Neo Valley perked up. “That means that some of you will have the opportunity to accompany them. We will start with one of our top rookies. Magic, step forward.” The Abra stood up and walked up to Magma. “You will be under the care of Riku.”

Magic bowed first to Magma and then to Riku. “This is a great honor,” he said stiffly. He returned to his seat.

Nurse Joi, who sat on the other side of me, giggled. “That Abra needs to lighten up. I wonder who’s going to be my rookie.”

Magma raised an eye ridge at Joi and smiled. He walked down the line of Knights for a second. “Sentret, come forth.” Sentret bounced up and ran to Magma. “Sentret, I am assigning you to Joi.”

“Yes! I’m so outta here!” Sentret exclaimed happily. She ran to Joi and hugged her.

“Of course, she will be replaced by another rookie in the time that I choose. There are so many rookies that can benefit by Joi’s teaching. Now, for the human rookies, I will need a guardian to look after each of them.”

This is it. This is what Riku meant. I guess that means that Shonta, Terri and I will need a guardian. I leaned forward to get a better look at the other Aurora Knights.

“Char. Feather. Starlet. Come forth,” Magma commanded. The three Pokemon stepped forward. “Starlet, you are in charge of the young Terri.”

“I get the Starmie? Alright!” Terri said.

“Feather, I place Shonta under your care since you care for her so much,” Magma continued.

Shonta smiled at me. “You know what that means,” she said to me.

“Yeah. I belong to Char,” I groaned.

Char must’ve listened because he came to me and stuck his face in mine. I could smell raw meat in his breath. “That’s right. You’re mine,” he said with a chuckle. “That means you do whatever I tell you to do.”

“Yes, sir,” I said stiffly. “This is a great honor for me.”

Char ruffled my hair. “I’ll try to go easy on you.”

Lady Imani, who was sitting on the far end of the Aurora Knights, sat beside Magma. “Humans, you are responsible for your rookies. Guardians, you are responsible for your humans.”

I grinned. “You hear that? You’re responsible for me,” I whispered to Char.

“You better keep one eye open tonight if you know what I mean,” Char joked.

“The meeting is adjourned. Rookies and guardians, go with the humans,” Magma said.

The Pokemon scattered, some going into the woods and others headed into the caves, led by Beacon. I stayed with the other humans and their Pokemon. Feather, now in Pidgey form, flew to Shonta’s shoulder. “Won’t this be exciting? We can train together and everything!” Feather chirped excitedly.

“Yeah, that’s just great,” Shonta replied. She gave a huge yawn. “Well, I’m already beat. Let’s go home so we can relax before our big day at college.” She walked toward the cave where Beacon was waiting for the rest of us. For some reason I just sat there, watching her leave me.

I was brought back to my senses when Char punched my arm. “Hey, what’s the problem? Why are you spacing out like that?”

“I’ll tell you about it when we get home.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“It all started when we were on Kumquat Island,” I started as I sat on my bed. I was back in my room and Shonta back in hers. Char was in his Charmeleon form, hanging onto every word I said along with Ripper. “Riku helped Shonta out of the limo and I caught Shonta giving that bastard a look I’ve never seen before.”

“What kind of look was it?” Char asked.

“Probably a look that said ‘I want you’,” Ripper joked.

I slammed my hands down on the mattress. “That’s not funny, Ripper! Anyway, the only thing I thought of that time was that Shonta never gave me that look before. Now I’m mad that Shonta even looked at Riku like that. But I feel something else.”

“Ooh, someone’s jealous,” Ripper mused.

I ignored him. “Now I’m looking at Shonta at a way like I’ve never looked at her before. I’m noticing things, like the way she carries herself or the way she looks in general.”

Ripper and Char looked at each other and smiled. “Aww,” they said together.

“What are you guys thinking?”

“That it took you this long to figure out how hot she looks,” Ripper said. He threw his head back and laughed.

Char snickered. “Stop, Ripper.” He climbed up on the bed, being careful not to burn anything with his tail. He laid his hand on my shoulder. “Love comes unexpectedly. It strikes hard and fast, like a Sneasel using Faint Attack. But when it comes, you have to accept it because the feeling might never go away.”

My mouth hung over. He thinks I’m in love. I can’t be in love. “What about Shonta? We’ve been palling around ever since we were in elementary school. What is she going to say when I just say out of the blue that I love her? She couldn’t sit through The Phantom of the Opera without making barfing noises!”

“Who cares? What matters is that you say that to her before you-know-who does. Now get her up on that computer thingy and tell her!” He pushed me off of the bed.

I grumbled to myself as I turn on the computer and connected to the Internet. I turned on the webcam, sensed that Ripper was looking over my shoulder, and turned it back off. I sent her an IM saying that I wanted her to come alone to the meadow on the outskirts of the city. After an awkward minute she sent one back merely saying “ok”. “You guys stay here. I’m going to talk to her.”

“Tell us how it turns out when you come back,” Cinder said as I left my room.

I passed by the kitchen and was stopped by my mom. “Where are you going?” she asked me sternly.

“I was going to meet Shonta. Don’t worry, I’ll be right back,” I assured her.

Her expression softened. “Again? That’s twice in one day. You know, I remember when you were little, you asked me if you could live with her. It’s true!”

I blushed as I heard Ripper and Char giggle from my room. “Mom…”

“You used to beg me every day about it! You only stopped when Shonta told you no. It wasn’t worth living with that brother of hers.”

I sighed. Yes, I remember that time. It was because I wanted to be there for her, to protect her. I thought about the night that Shonta recovered her memories about her father and the night that Ripper attacked with his army of Pokemon. Both occasions ended with me feeling the same way that I did now, that no matter how powerful she was now, that she needed me. And I needed her. “I remember, Mom. Can I go meet Shonta now?”

“Yes, you can. Don’t take too long, though. Dinner’s almost ready.” She patted me on the back.

I walked out into the warm summer night and started down the road. Shonta exited her house and walked next to me, keeping her head down and staying emotionless. We both were silent as we walked to our meeting place. When we got there, I opened my mouth to speak but she beat me to it. “Did I do something wrong?” she asked me. She lifted her head. Her eyes were watery, like she was going to cry.

“No, you didn’t. It’s just that…” I started.

“Because you never want to talk to me alone! I thought I did something wrong.” I opened my mouth again, but she burst into tears. “He means nothing to me!”

Uh-oh, it’s all falling apart. “What are you talking about?”

“On the ride back home from Kumquat, you said nothing to me. You were cold to me. I thought it was because I let Riku let me out of the limo.” She buried my face in my shirt. “Please don’t do this to me! I’m so sorry!” I didn’t know what to do. I tried to hug her but she pushed me back. She sat down on the grass. “Why are you doing this to me?”

I sat down next to her. “I’m not…I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that to you. I have to admit that I was kind of jealous. Besides, we’ve been friends for so long. What makes you think a little thing like that is going to tear us apart?”

She looked at me with those eyes. For a second I saw them go from her usual brown to a peculiar yellow. Her Raitah eyes. I swallowed hard. I knew it. She’s angry at me and now she’s going to hunt me down. Instead her eyes changed back and she smiled a normal, non-fanged smile. “You aren’t angry at me?” she asked me softly.

“No! I’m angry at him and his dad!” I wiped away her tears. “We got into all this Aurora Knight business together and we’re going to get out of it together.”

She leaned on me. I smelled a sweet scent on her skin. She changed her body wash. My sense of smell must be getting sharper. “I’m sorry for going postal on you like that. I don’t know what came over me. I must’ve sounded like a sob scene on some chick flick.”

“Yeah, you did,” I joked. It was back to being pals. The feeling of love just vanished. Man, was I confused! “What about we go back to our homes and pretend that whole thing never happened?”

“That sounds cool. But before I do…” She pulled me down by my collar. My heart beat faster as her face got closer to mine. I held my breath. Surprisingly soft lips pressed against my cheek. “I love you,” she whispered in my ear. She stood up and ran to her house, leaving me in shock.

She loves me, I thought over and over as I stumbled over to my house, past Mom and straight to my room.

Ripper, Char, and Cinder stared at me as I plopped on my bed. “Well?” Char asked me.

“She beat me to it,” was all I said as I stared up at the ceiling.

classy_cat18
25th September 2005, 10:07 PM
This will be in Shonta's point of view. Hey, mr_pikachu! New chapter over here!

Off to College

“Why did I tell him that?” I asked myself as the pillows lay on my face, muffling my voice.

“What did you say?” Artemis asked me.

I took the pillows off. “Why did I tell him that I love him?”

Artemis looked confused. “I thought it was because you love him.”

My hands went up in the air. “Yeah, but to tell you the truth, I don’t know that for sure.”

She got to her feet and looked me in the eyes. “You’re kidding! You lied to him?”

“I didn’t lie to him! I…okay, maybe I did lie. But the words just popped out of my mouth! I didn’t know what I was saying!”

“So that kiss…”

“…was a spur of the moment thing. I didn’t know what I was doing then either. I just wanted to kiss him, okay?”

Artemis shook her head. “You humans confuse me.”

I looked across the room at Reaper. He was at his usual pose at this time of night: sitting Indian style with his bladed arms crossed at his chest and his eyes closed. Meditating like a good Scyther should before going to bed. I opened my mouth to ask him something and then decided to shut it. Reaper could get irritated when you disturb him during meditation.

Static chuckled. “Wait until Ryan hears about this. Youse kissed him for no darn reason and youse told him that youse loved him when youse didn’t even mean it!”

“Youse, I mean you won’t tell him anything!” I shot at him. “No one’s going to tell him anything! You hear me?” Artemis and Static nodded while Reaper stayed still. All the other Pokemon were in their pokeballs.

Terri walked in the room, back from her shower. “What’s going on? It sounds like you guys are arguing again.”

“We’re just fine. Now let’s catch some Z’s. We have to go to college tomorrow.” I slid under the sheets on my bed while Terri turned off the light.

I stayed awake for a while, thinking about what I did. Ryan wouldn’t like it if I told him that I said those three magical words when I wasn’t sure I meant it. I didn’t even know if he loved me back! For all I know he probably wanted to stay friends with me. He probably even liked someone else. I was wasting my breath. I slowly closed my mind and took my mind off of Ryan for once and thought about something else as I drifted off to sleep.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ *~*~*~*~*~*~

“Clothes!”

“Check!”

“Linen?”

“Check!”

“Laptop!”

I slapped my forehead. “No check!” I yelled to Mom as I scrambled back in the house for it. I returned with it and my Gamecube and accessories, giving Mom a small smile before putting them in the trunk of the pickup truck. “Please, Mom?”

“You’re not going to let video games come before your schoolwork, are you?” Mom asked me sternly.

“No, but all work and no play make Shonta a dull girl.”

“And all play and no work make Shonta a lazy idiot,” Static said from behind me.

“Go in your pokeball.” I pulled out his pokeball and returned him.

Ryan walked up to me, looking a little nervous. There were a few butterflies in my stomach as well. “Well, I’m all packed. How about you and Terri?”

“We’re ready, too. I should thank your dad for the extra truck.”

“He keeps on saying that it’s no problem.” He put a hand on my shoulder. “I can’t believe we’re finally doing this.”

“Me neither. Pokemon Biology has always been a subject that I wanted to learn more about. It’s the same thing for Pokemon Psychology.” Suddenly I remembered about last night. “Listen, about last night…”

He stopped me by raising a hand. “We’ll talk about that after we settle in at Ecruteak.”

From out of nowhere popped up Terri. “I hate to separate you lovebirds but we gotta get this show on the road.” She pushed me to the truck in front. I reluctantly climbed in the seat. “Off to Ecruteak!”

Mom put the truck in gear and started to drive. The truck containing Ryan and his parents followed closely. We circled the block and drove to the only exit out of Sunflower Town for motorized vehicles.

It was going to be a long trip so Terri and I thought we would talk to each other about what we would do when we get to college. “I think I’m going to major in Biology and then minor in Psychology.”

Terri gave a low whistle. “That’s a lot of paper writing, cousin. Me? I’m undecided. I’m thinking Marine Biology. Love those water types!”

“Are you worried about your future roommate?”

“Nah. If we can’t see eye to eye, tough luck.”

We stayed silent the rest of the way there, enjoying the music on the radio. We cruised through the massive city of Goldenrod and past fields of Tauros and Miltank. I would occasionally look through the sunroof of the truck and enjoy the sunny, blue skies. After days of both outer and inner turmoil it was nice to just enjoy the nice weather.

We finally arrived at Ecruteak College, a massive campus from what I’ve seen in the air. The entrance lay beneath a metal gate with the location’s name over it. We drove up to the guardhouse, explained to the guards that we were here for orientation, and continued into the campus. As we drove around I noticed that the academic buildings were on the outside while everything else was in the center.

“Ooh! There’s the arena!” I exclaimed. I pointed to a large metal dome in the dead center of the campus. “I read in the brochures that the college sent us that they’ll open the dome during some Pokemon battles.” Scattered around the arena were smaller areas for smaller Pokemon battles. I saw that there were already people trying them out.

We parked behind one of the houses and started to unload. “You girls should find out where you’re staying,” Mom suggested.

“Wait, I have it here with me. They mailed it to us.” I pulled out a piece of wrinkled paper out of my pocket and looked down at it. “Looks like I’m staying at Misdreavus House.”

Terri looked in her purse and pulled out a white envelope. “I haven’t looked at my paper yet,” she said. She opened the envelope and took out the paper. “I’m also staying at Misdreavus House. And alright! My roommate is none other than Kanna! I’m staying with a genius!”

I looked at Terri’s piece of paper and read “Kanna Westwood”. “Terri, how are you sure this is the Kanna we know? We don’t know her last name.”

“I don’t know, but I’m hopeful.”

Mr. Steele’s other truck parked beside us. Ryan got out and looked at his dorm room assignment. “I’m in Gastly House and my roommate’s name is Ryu Takashi. Who’s your roommate?” he asked me.

“All it says is TBA. It doesn’t have a name.” I showed Mom my paper and led her into Misdreavus House while Ryan led his parents to Gastly House. We went up one floor and down the hall. I took out the key that was mailed to me and started to unlock the door only to find it already unlocked.

I stepped into a room that was as big as my bedroom (which isn’t saying much). One side of the room, my roommate’s side, was already decorated. On the bed was an insect-like Pokemon, sleeping peacefully. It was a pale green color with diamond-shaped wings of a darker green, outlined in black. Its large eyes were of the same color as the wings. I didn’t recognize the Pokemon. Deciding to let it sleep, I started to help Mom unpack. Soon, however, I got bored. As I finished putting up the last of the clothes I turned to Mom. “Mom, can I go explore the campus?”

“Why not? We’re finished here. I can go back home.” She gave me a tight hug. “I’ll miss you. Stay in touch, okay?”

“I will.”

“And no Gamecube until you finish your studies.”

I laughed. “Okay.” I gave her a quick peck on the cheek and watched her walk out the room. I gazed at the unknown Pokemon for a while before going down the hall to check on Terri. With her was Kanna, the Kanna we knew. She was with a man that looked about fifty years old. It took me a while to recognize him from the pictures at Prof. Cedar’s lab. “You’re Professor Westwood! Kanna, you’re related to him?”

She blushed. “Yes. He’s my uncle. Uncle, this is another friend of mine, Shonta. We met on that trip to the Orange Islands.”

Prof. Westwood heartily shook my hand. “Oh, Shonta! Prof. Cedar’s friend from Sunflower Town! Please don’t call me Professor; it’s too formal. Call me Westwood the Fifth.”

I let my nerdy side take over. “Westwood the Fifth, your essays are phenomenal! That theory about Slowpoke’s evolution helped my final paper in senior year big time! Although I’m still confused as to how Slowpoke becomes bipedal when Shellder bites it on the head while it holds the King’s Rock and makes it evolve it into a Slowking.” I said the last sentence quickly and in one breath.

“Ah, a curious mind! Well, my theory is…” He was then stopped by Kanna.

“Please don’t start, Uncle Westwood. You won’t be able to stop,” Kanna told him, blushing even harder.

“He nearly drove me crazy after I asked him one question,” Terri agreed. “So where’s Ryan?”

“In Gastly House, wherever that is. How come we all ended up in Misdreavus House?”

Kanna’s blush disappeared as she explained. “It’s where all the first year girls are assigned. All first year guys end up in Gastly House. When we enter our second and third year we’ll be in Banette House and the guys in Gengar House. When we enter our senior year here…”

“Lugia House and Ho-oh House,” I finished. I didn’t remember a lot of things from the brochures but that part I couldn’t forget. Each of the two houses had a huge statue of the bird they were named after in front of it, staring at the passersby. At least, a statue of what the sculpters thought they looked like. The houses were slightly smaller than all the others because not a lot of people made it to their senior year. The curriculum was tough. They were like hotels without the maid service.

“Have you signed in yet?” Kanna asked Terri and me.

“No, we haven’t. Where would we sign in?”

“First we should sign up in the front of the house. Then we sign in our Pokemon at the Pokemon Center. After that we are free to enjoy orientation.”

Westwood the Fifth nodded quickly. “Go ahead and enjoy yourselves. I have a special project waiting for me in my lab. Goodbye, niece.”

Kanna waved goodbye and followed us out of the room and up a couple of floors. There were a fewer rooms on that floor because of the lobby at the front doors. At a table floated a Misdreavus. She eyed us and flew over to us, laughing loudly. “Welcome to Misdreavus House! I am Missy, the house ghost.”

“Um, isn’t this taking Harry Potter a little too far?” I asked her.

“SILENCE, HUMAN!” she screamed. The three of us took a step back. She smiled sweetly. “Please check-in so the others will know you’ve arrived.”

I walked to the piece of paper she was looking at and put a check by my name. Kanna and Terri did the same. “Fine. Are there other ghosts in the other houses? I just want to know in advance so I can take an extra pair of underwear with me.”

“OF COURSE THERE ARE, YOU STUPID HUMAN! Have fun!” She giggled happily as she vanished.

“Why does she sound so familiar?” Terri asked shakily.

“It’s because she sounds like your Azumarril,” I answered. “Something tells me that we should be careful around here.”

“Oh, come on! What’s the worse that could happen?”

mr_pikachu
26th September 2005, 01:00 AM
This reply should be more than enough proof that I've been watching your fic as it's been reposted. ;) It's good to be moving forward again!

It started with a very interesting idea, I must say. Ooh, wait till Ryan finds out about this! And yes, I'm sure he'll find out, with Static around. He's no scared little Pichu anymore, is he? The blatant foreshadowing of Shonta's roommate was pretty good, too. I'm guessing whoever it is has a Vibrava. It should be interesting to find out who Shonta will have to deal with. I like the concerns you brought up in this chapter, and I'm curious where you'll go with them.

I thought the setting could've been done a little more, even though I was able to kind of get a grasp of what it would be by envisioning my own dormitory. A lot of people likely would not have that as a frame of reference, so a bit more setting might have been helpful. Also, watch out for things such as tenses as perspectives (i.e. first-person vs. third-person). The rules change a bit between speech and the different types of narration, but there were still some issues with this chapter. Tenses were especially prevalent, though. Be careful with contractions, too, as you had one or two of those that were in the wrong tense.

Still, this was good. I'm glad this fic has new chapters, now; I've been waiting for a continuation of it for a long time. Your character interactions, as always, are entrancing. It's exciting to just wonder what they'll do next. While a few technical aspects could perhaps be sharpened, your writing is still exceedingly enjoyable. I'm really looking forward to the next chapter. Hopefully we'll get to meet Shonta's roommate! Until then! :wave:

classy_cat18
29th September 2005, 03:35 PM
Wow, I really need improvement in description. New chapter up. Hope Mew Trainer Rose is reading. After all, her character is introduced here.

Murphy’s Law in Action

We were greeted by another annoying ghost in Gastly House: Cannonball, or CB for short. This ghost kept on disappearing and reappearing in front of us. I finally threatened to pummel him with my Umbreon and he left us alone.

The first thing we saw as we went up a level was a gaggle of girls. They seemed to be surrounding someone or something. I was about to ignore it when I heard a familiar voice shout from the crowd. “Hey, Shonta! Terri! Kanna!”

We all turned to see who called out to us. All the girls turned to us. Riku pushed himself out of the middle of the crowd and walked to us. “Hello, girls. It’s nice to finally see you again,” he greeted.

I looked past him and at the girls. They were whispering amongst themselves and pointing at us. I started to feel uneasy. These may be rabid fans of Riku. Or his fortune. “Hey, Riku. Caught up in business, I see,” I joked despite my nervousness.

Riku got closer and whispered in my ear. “I don’t even know any of these girls. As soon as they found out where I was staying they rushed over here. Just play along, okay?” Before I could say anything he wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me close. My face instantly got hot. “Sorry girls, but I’m taken.”

One of the girls, a tall, skinny blonde that looked like she belonged on the runway, scowled at me. She didn’t say anything, though. All of the other girls walked away except for her. When they were gone she marched up to us and stuck an index finger in my face. “What are you doing with someone like Riku?” she demanded.

“To tell you the truth, I really don’t know,” I admitted.

One of her bony hands shot out and got my left wrist. “Look, a Timex! Where’d you get this, the thrift store?”

“The Goldenrod Department Store Online, thank you very much. Takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.” I smiled widely. No way was I going to let this girl embarrass me just because she was taller and prettier than me.

Her other hand shot out and pulled out the Light Dragon Key from under my shirt. “Where did you get this little trinket? The dragon actually looks like it’s made out of real gold.”

“It is.” I grinned. “It’s a family heirloom. One of a kind.” I took the key back.

“Stacey, it was over before it began. I found someone that fits my…busy lifestyle,” Riku said coolly. “Miss Shonta has more than you think.”

I thought Riku didn't know any of them.

Stacey looked at me and huffed. “More what? More ass?”

Ooh, she’s gonna pay for that crack. “To tell you the truth, Stacey, I’m not even interested in him. I hardly even know him,” I told her, looking a little bored.

“So you’re in it for the sex?”

I blushed and gasped. “Excuse me, but I already have a boyfriend!” I blurted out.

“So you’re cheating on him?”

I have had enough of this. I grabbed the collar of her shirt and yanked her to me. “Listen to me, Blondie. I’m not going out with Riku. You can have him if you want him so badly.”

"You lie. Who would want to give up the opportunity to go out with Riku?"

"Me. Like I said, I already have a boyfriend. But know this. Riku is my friend and I like to look out for his well being. Hurt him and I'll hunt you down like the helpless little Rattata you are."

For a second she looked at me like she was actually scared. Then she recovered. “I’ll take care of you later.”

“Whatever.” I took Riku's arm from around my waist and walked off with Terri and Kanna at a hurried pace.

"Shonta, I don't believe you. I thought you said you didn't have a boyfriend," Terri said as she struggled to keep up with me.

"I mainly said that to get her off of my back. Looks like it still didn't work. Why would a girl go after someone like Riku?"

"Shonta, even I know the answer to that," Kanna answered. "Riku's rich, he's good looking, and..."

"Creepy. Very creepy. When he wants to be," I finished.

We turned the corner and saw Ms. Steele out in the hallway. No sign of Ryan himself. I hugged Ms. Steele and peered into the room. On one side was Riku, hanging up a poster on the wall. On the other side was another guy doing the same thing. I assumed that he was Ryan's roommate. He looked tall and scrawny, with a normal black hairdo. I strolled in the room and cleared my throat. "How's it going, Ryan?" I asked him.

The other guy, Ryu Takashi I think his name was, turned his head to me but then turned it back to the wall. "Oh, I thought you said my name."

Ryan looked at me and smiled. "Hey Shonta. Got everything unpacked in your room? I'm almost done here. Hey Ryu, this is my best friend Shonta." I was about to take a sigh of relief from being called a friend when he opened his mouth again. "Well, sort of my girlfriend."

I mentally gulped. I am in so much trouble tonight.

Ryu glanced at me, not looking the least bit interested. "Yeah, whatever."

"Shonta and I are going to the Pokemon Center to register our Pokemon. Are you coming?"

"Maybe later. You go on ahead." He didn't even take his eyes off of the poster, which had a picture of battling Pokemon on it.

Ryan took my hand and led me out of his room. I tried to avoid Terri's smug glance that suggested "I told ya so". I felt uneasy as Ryan and I walked hand in hand. It almost didn't feel right. Maybe it was because we hadn't held hands since we were kids. I could almost sense that Ryan felt the same. Then why was he doing it?

We entered the Pokemon Center. It looked like it was designed to be a social place. On the sides of the Center were circular tables and chairs surrounding those tables. They had big windows to let in sunlight. They even had plenty of electrical outlets, probably used to plug in laptops because that was what other students were doing. I guessed that the place was a WiFi hotspot. I looked around some more and saw Joi checking Pokemon. Sentret scurried about, checking on Pokemon that were out of their pokeballs. She spotted us and waved. “You came! It’s about time!” She stood on her tail and yelled to Joi. “Hey Joi! We have company!”

Joi, pretending that she didn’t understand the words that came out of Sentret’s mouth, merely looked up and smiled. “Hi, guys. Here to register your Pokemon?” she asked us.

I nodded and walked up to the front desk, wondering where Khanga was. I noticed that there was a Nurse Joy operating the healing machinery behind Joi. I put my pokeballs on the desk and watched the Nurse Joy carry them to another machine. She put them on a conveyor belt and stood in front of the machine, announcing each Pokemon as they were scanned by it. “Female Umbreon. Male Scyther. Male Raichu. Female Pidgeot. Nice team.” She pushed a button on the machine and brought out four different sized bands. “Your Pokemon are to wear these for identification and security purposes. Each one of them has a chip that tells us of your Pokemon’s whereabouts on the campus.”

I nodded and took them from her hand. Each one of was red and white like a pokeball with a printed identification number, species, and gender. The machine even printed where to put each of the bands. Artemis’s and Feather’s would go around one of their legs. Static’s and Reaper’s would go around one of their arms.

“Which Pokemon will be staying with you in your dorm?” Joi asked me.

“Before I answer, is there a way for me to switch Pokemon?” I asked her.

She nodded. “But notify me before you do it.”

“Okay. My Umbreon will be staying with me for right now, but she’ll be switching with my Raichu every now and then.”

She clapped her hands together and grinned at me. “Alright then! Please sign her in on this form. Just fill in species, gender, nickname, and the house you two will be living in. You’ll have to do this every time you switch Pokemon.”

I wrote on the form “Umbreon, Female, Artemis, Misdreavus” and gave it back to Joi. Meanwhile Ryan was registering his Cyndaquil, Scizor, and Charizard (which wasn’t really his). Of course Cinder was the only one that could stay with him. Then Terri registered her Vaporeon, Azumarril, and Starmie (which wasn’t really hers) and Kanna registered her Ampharos, Plusle and Minun. Kanna had trouble deciding which twin would share her room with her. She finally let them stay together in the habitat.

“While you’re here please take a look at our bulletin board for events on campus. If I’m not mistaken there’s a sign-up form for a Pokemon battle tournament for residents of Misdreavus and Gastly halls. It’s customary for the upperclassmen to see what the freshmen are made of,” Joi explained.

“Will you be battling?” I asked her eagerly. I wanted to see what she could do in battle.

She gave a little shrug. “I might. If you decide to enter you’ll have a little while before it starts so please feel free to visit the Pokemon park.”

I rushed to the sign-up sheet that was tacked on the bulletin board and printed my name on it. Not many names were on there but they still had time. I noticed that one of the names was someone named Stacey. That was all. No last name. I instantly thought about the girl that once went with Riku.

Ryan walked up and signed his name for the Gastly House tournament. “I would love for Riku to sign up so I can wipe the floor with him,” he whispered while still looking at the sign-up sheet.

“And I would love to watch you wipe the floor with him,” I told him with a smile and blushed as Ryan planted a small kiss on my forehead.

I stepped away from the sheet so that Terri could sign under my name. “I’m going to beat you all with Starlet!” she crowed.

“I hate to burst your bubble but won’t that be unfair to the other competitors?” I asked her. I lowered my voice. “After all, you didn’t train her and she’s one of the top Aurora Knights.”

She pouted. “You’re no fun. Well, how about Bubbles? Can I use her?”

“Depends. Will she want to be used?”

“Good point. So that just leaves Aqua.”

Kanna walked up and faced Terri. “Maybe you should just erase your name off of the sign-up sheet. Starlet’s good but sometimes she can go too far. You see…” She gathered us in a tight circle and spoke in a quiet voice. “When she was a young Staryu she defeated Magma and he was undefeated until then. They later found out that the gem in her center was actually an Umbra Crystal. They managed to convert it back to an Aurora Crystal but sometimes its dark powers shine through if you know what I mean.”

That earned some gasps from us. “You mean that Starlet’s a former Demon?” Terri asked Kanna.

She nodded. “You can use her but all I’m saying is that you shouldn’t let the battle get too intense.”

“Oookay.” She let her name stay on the sheet. “How about we take a look around that park that Joi told us about?”

“Alright. Let’s go.” I followed her out of the Pokemon Center and followed the signs that were posted throughout the campus. If the main entrance to the college was at the south end of the campus, then we were eventually going to the north end. It seemed that the campus went deep into the woods. We traveled down a narrow dirt path that had woods on both sides and passed another guardhouse. Finally we came across something that made our jaws drop.

It was a beautiful, flowery meadow and large, clear lake in the middle of a patch of woods. Pokemon were relaxing, playing, swimming, flying, whatever they did when they were wild they were doing it here. “It looks like Professor Oak’s research area from the manmade lakes to the rocky hills. Looks about the size of it as well. I wonder how good the security is,” I said to myself.

“Pretty good. Besides the guardhouse at the only safe entrance by land, there are also guard Pokemon patrolling by land and air,” Kanna answered.

I blinked at her. “How do you know all this?”

“Uncle Westwood and Professor Oak as well as your Professor Cedar helped design the place.” She smirked. “And Uncle Westwood sometimes has a big mouth.”

I laughed. “I’m surprised that you would talk about your relatives that way.” I pulled out my pokeballs from my magnetic belt and let out my Pokemon. The others followed suit. I took the bands that Nurse Joy gave me and put one on each of my Pokemon and explained what they were for.

“Very clever,” Reaper commented.

“Doesn’t exactly go with my coloring,” Artemis said.

“Don’t they trust us?” Static asked.

“It’s so that, for example, trainers can tell one Raichu from another,” I said. “And in the event you get stolen…”

“Stolen? Youse think we’re that dumb?”

“No! It’s just that some humans are that smart.”

“I think they’re swell!” Feather said with a laugh.

Char groaned. “It doesn’t go with my spiked bracelets and collar.”

“Who cares? Let’s mingle!” She and Char flew off in search of new friends.

“Maybe we should’ve gotten them metallic tags that go with regular collars,” Kanna said. “Nurse Joy forgot to tell us this, but if we shell out some bucks we could get them dog tags. They have the same effectiveness as the bands and they’re more durable.”

“Now you tell her,” Artemis grumbled. She walked off toward the largest lake.

“I don’t know about youse guys but I’m goin’ to find someone to spar with.” He turned around and bumped into something that looked like a Mareep from behind. It wasn’t.

The Pokemon turned around and glared at Static. It did look almost exactly like a Mareep except its horns were curled around in a Princess Leia style. The orb at the end of its tail was blue instead of yellow. “What are you doing bumping into me like that?” the Pokemon asked, his voice slightly deeper than a Mareep’s.

Static didn’t seem worried in the least. “Whoa! Nice hairstyle! Did ya lose a bet or somethin’?” he joked.

The Pokemon got angrier. “You didn’t answer my question! And these are my horns, not a hairstyle!”

Static got angry and shoved his face into the other Pokemon’s face. “Hey, it was an accident! I’m sorry!”

“You better get your ugly face away from me before you regret it.”

“WHAT!?! Who are youse calling ugly? Don’t make me Thunderbolt your butt!”

I started to get worried. Neither Static nor I knew what this new Pokemon was capable of. I walked over to the two Pokemon and smiled. “Now let’s not be getting into any fights, okay?” I asked the two.

Static crossed his arms. “Make this jerk apologize to me first,” he said in a low voice.

I turned to the new Pokemon. “Apologize to my friend, whoever you are.”

The new Pokemon glared at me. “My name is Glacier and you have no idea what I can do.”

“Oh, with a name like Glacier I’ve got a pretty good idea of what you can do.” I slowly bent down and picked up Static. “Now we’ll leave you alone to whatever you were doing before all of this nonsense.”

“Shonta! Are youse going to let this moron get away with mockin’ your Pokemon?” Static asked me angrily. “I say give this guy a good butt-kickin’!”

Glacier snorted angrily. I scrambled backwards toward the rest of the group to get away from this ticking time bomb. Glacier yelled at the top of his lungs and breathed out a heap of ice and snow. I dove for the ground, narrowly missing the attack. Ryan took a step forward but I just shook my head. I thought I could solve this without him. “Can’t we just work this out? Without Static?” I asked Glacier frantically.

“No!” Glacier shouted. He pawed the ground with a hoof and charged for us, his head down and ready to ram us. I waited until he was too close for him to change direction and rolled to the side, still holding Static. I then got up and started running for something that would stop him or at least slow him down.

“Stop, Shonta! I can stop him!” Static told me. Before I could stop him he squirmed out of my arms, jumped to the ground, and faced the still charging Pokemon. He released a massive Thunderbolt at him, who surprisingly countered with a Thunderbolt of his own. The two Pokemon pushed their electric attacks against each other, each one struggling for dominance over the other. Static knew he couldn’t use his Aurora Crystal because the power increase would be too great.

Soon I noticed that Static was straining to keep up his own Thunderbolt. He was starting to drop to one knee. “Static! Stop your Thunderbolt and roll away!”

He did what he was told and barely dodged the shocking attack. He sprang to his feet and sprinted for Glacier, who lowered his head and ran for Static. But it was Glacier that had the upper hand. His Skull Bash struck Static and sent him flying. I managed to catch him but was once again burdened with the task of protecting him from Glacier. “Okay, Glacier. Let’s just forget about the Raichu and walk away.”

At first Glacier seemed to hesitate. He would shift uneasily from hoof to hoof and look at me with a wavering gaze. But then his gaze hardened and he opened his mouth for another Blizzard. I closed my eyes. This is it. I’m going to freeze into an ice cube because my Pokemon couldn’t keep his mouth shut.

“Glacier, return!” a girl’s voice shouted. I opened my eyes just in time to see Glacier be engulfed in a red light and returned to someone’s pokeball. The girl who returned him was dressed in the same way I was: T-shirt and blue jeans. Her long, dark red hair was tied back. She looked thin, but I knew she could run if she wanted to.

I gave a huge sigh of relief. “Thank you for practically saving our lives,” I said to her.

“No problem. My Ramfrio can be really hotheaded when provoked.” She walked to me and held out a hand. “My name’s Theresa. You’ve already met Glacier.”

I shook her hand. “My name’s Shonta Jones and this is Static. He can get pretty hotheaded, too.” Static groaned and squirmed out of my arms again.

Her eyes went wide. She rummaged through her pockets and pulled out a piece of paper. “Shonta Jones? Misdreavus House?” I nodded twice. “So you’re my roommate. It’s nice to finally meet you.”

“How did you know that I was your roommate? My paper just said ‘TBA’.”

“I decided at the last minute that I needed to room here. You must’ve had a private room until now.”

The others jogged over, looking relieved. “Girl, don’t you scare me like that again,” Terri told me.

Ryan wrapped me in a tight embrace. “You had us all pretty scared.” I got weak in the knees and sunk a little. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah. I just need to sit down for a bit,” I said, feeling the exhaustion wash through my body. Ryan wrapped one of my arms around his neck, wrapped one of his arms under my arms, and helped me walk to a safe area in the meadow. I plopped down and smiled. “Thanks.”

Ryan sat beside me and pulled me closer to him. “Hey, we look out for each other. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you. I love you.”

I felt a hard pang of guilt and looked down at my hands that were folded in my lap. “There’s something I have to tell you. About last night…” I swallowed hard. I couldn’t say it! “About last night…”

“She doesn’t love youse,” interrupted Static. Apparently he followed us and was standing behind us undetected. “She said so herself last night.”

I couldn’t bring myself to look at Ryan’s face so I just kept glaring at Static who didn’t look sorry in the least. Finally Ryan asked me something that I didn’t want to answer. “Is this true?”

It took me a while to answer. A lump was in my throat and I was dangerously close to crying. “Yes. I said that.” I felt his arm being removed from my waist. “Please Ryan, I didn’t mean to hurt you…”

“But you did. You lied to me. I don’t know if I can ever believe you again.”

I looked up at his face but didn’t like what I saw. Anger. The tears in my eyes came in floods. “Ryan, please…”

“Cry me a river,” he said harshly. He got up and walked away, shoving anyone that got in his way.

mr_pikachu
29th September 2005, 04:14 PM
Don't you just hate Murphy? Well, Shonta got herself into trouble, I suppose... I doubt this will end well. Especially if this was the ending.

Pretty good introductions to the characters. I did have a little trouble keeping track of names, but it's probably just that I haven't gotten much sleep lately. I liked your description for Riku's fangirl especially well; very visually clear. That was nice, as I have a very clear picture in my head of what she probably looks like, and you didn't get bogged down in over-describing. Excellent job on that. And the varying actions and emotions were done pretty well, too.

I do think you could have spent a little more time drawing out the tension when you transitioned from meeting the roommate to the major conflict of the chapter. A bit more tension would have increased the drama level by a lot more. There were some powerful emotions there, so it would've been good to have used them to their fullest effect. Still, good job in harnessing those emotions in the first place.

There were a few isolated things worth mentioning as well. The part where everyone registered their Pokemon was extremely repetitive in a few different ways. That could have been cut down by quite a bit. (Also, it's spelled "Azumarill". Two Ls, not two Rs.) You slipped into present tense once or twice, and I think you swapped a name during the scene at Ryan's room, unless there are three occupants there.

However, this was still quite enjoyable overall. Nice introduction to the new Pokemon, and good use of the setting as well with the open area for the Pokemon. And again, great job with the character description. It'll certainly be interesting to see how the rapidly changing relationships will affect the storyline. Anyway, I'm short on time, so I'd better go. But I'll see you next chapter! :wave:

Mew Trainer Rose
30th September 2005, 11:07 PM
I have no idea how I managed to miss the last four chapters being posted. I would have posted earlier, believe me.

Yay, my character's here! And even better, she's Shonta's roommate! Nice portrayal of her Ramfrio, too. :) Tense little battle there.

Wow, Static just doen't know when to keep his mouth shut, does he? Twice in teh same scene he's piped up when it would have been far smarter to stay silent. He really ruined Shonta and Ryan's moment. Shonta better gicve him a lesson in tact.

...Though juding by the way she was glaring at him at the end, such a lesson would probably involve him being chased by a very angry Ratiah.

Oh, and just in case anyone is interested: http://pokefactory.pokemology.com/PF2/016.gif
Pokedex courtesy of The Pokemon Factory.

darktyranitar
13th October 2005, 05:34 AM
Don't you just love to hate Static? Not only he almost got himself freezed by Glacier, then he has to jeopardise Shonta and Ryan relationship. :mad:

Anyway, since the knights have gone to college, I expect the plot to move in a slower way. Unless you have something in store that will influence the plot. Nice use of the emotions near the end of the chapter. However, I kept wondering how Shonta and Ryan relation will turn after this. Will Riku be involved in it? And maybe even Stacey?

And congratulation for getting three fanfic awards, two for this and the other one for "Dragon Song". I think I would like to chat a bit with you, but maybe not here. So, stay tuned! Alright, keep on writing! :smilie:

classy_cat18
25th October 2005, 01:14 AM
New chapter’s up! This chapter is in Artemis’s point of view.

Murphy’s Law Lives On

I turned from the pond to see that Shonta wasn’t exactly getting along with Static. In fact, she was vigorously shaking and choking him. I was surprised that they hadn’t attracted any attention. I ran to them and shouted at Shonta. “Stop that! You’ll kill him!”

“So?” Shonta asked through clenched teeth. Looking closer, I found a tear rolling down her cheek. Her breathing was heavy and her eyes were blazing. Nevertheless, she loosened her grip on Static so he could breathe.

“I had to say it. Otherwise his heart might’ve been broken!” Static said angrily.

More tears rolled down Shonta’s face. “You made it worse. He’ll never trust me again!” She buried her face in her hands and broke down crying.

I didn’t need to ask what had happened. Static must’ve told Ryan what Shonta forbade him to tell. “Static, you didn’t…”

“I did, and I’d do it again if I felt like it! I told dat guy she didn’t love him!”

I growled deeply. My tail shot straight up and my ears flattened against my head. “You idiot, that’s not what she said! She said that she wasn’t sure if she loved him! There’s a difference!”

Static’s ears and tail drooped. “Oops. Look Artie, before youse do anythin’…”

“Like what? Tear you apart?” I bared my fangs at him, making him shrink back in fear. “Go away. Get in your pokeball before you get hurt.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said meekly. He walked to the pokeball attached to Shonta’s belt and poked the button on it, drawing himself in.

I sat in my crying trainer’s lap and licked a tear that had been falling down her cheek. She said she didn’t know if she loved him. I knew that she loved him. I licked her hand and sighed heavily. “I’ll make this right, Shonta. Don’t worry.” I left her and the Pokemon park, looking for Ryan with no luck. Char and Cinder, however, stood outside the doors of the Pokemon Center. I approached them with caution, knowing that they would probably be on Ryan’s side. “Have you guys seen Ryan? I need to talk to him.”

Cinder rubbed his head, a sign that he was really nervous. “He’s inside the Pokemon Center. What happened to him? He’s pretty moody and he won’t tell us why.”

“It’s because Static said something really stupid. Actually, Shonta said it and told us not to say it and Static kind of said it the wrong way and made it worse,” I said hurriedly.

Char crossed his arms and glared down at me. “Does this have anything to do with last night?” he asked me.

I gulped. “Yes. Please don’t be mad at Shonta. She said she wasn’t sure if she loved him but Static told Ryan that she didn’t love him.”

“She still lied. Artemis, Shonta broke Ryan’s heart. It will take a while for it to heal if it’ll heal at all.”

“But if he knew the truth he’ll understand! Shonta was confused with all those emotions swimming around her brain that she had to interpret them as something! I’m going to talk to him and straighten this out!” I tried to walk past them but Char dropped his tail in my path. I took this as a threat of attack and backed up a few steps.

“I’m sorry, but as an Aurora Knight I’m going to have to ask you to stay away from my human for his sake.”

My red eyes narrowed. “What about Shonta? Is she to stay away too?”

“If it will help Ryan to recover…”

I dropped my head. As his subordinate I had no choice but to obey him. But I would get to Ryan before it got worse. I was about to leave when Ryan walked through the front door. He looked down at me with indifference and walked on with Char and Cinder. I tried to follow them but Char gave me a loud roar and I shrunk back, scared like Static was when I threatened him.

They no longer acted like my friends. Ryan wasn’t the Ryan that I met in Shonta’s backyard. Char thought he was doing what was right but he was doing it the wrong way. The two humans needed each other.

I sat outside the Pokemon Center for a couple more minutes before seeing Terri, Kanna, and Theresa running down the path from the Pokemon park. Theresa was the first one to spot me. “I found an Umbreon! Is that Artemis?” she asked the others.

My ears perked and I ran to the others. Kanna kneeled in the dirt and stroked my head. “Poor girl. I saw Ryan storm off. He looked angry. Today must be such a mess to you and your trainer,” she told me. I just nodded.

“Shonta had better get here. The tournament will start soon and she’s still in the park. Worse of all is she won’t tell us what happened,” Terri said. “Why don’t you wait for us at the battle area, Theresa? We’ll be there before the tournament starts.” Theresa nodded and walked off, leaving me with Terri and Kanna. We waited until the coast was clear before talking again.

I explained to them what Shonta said last night and what Static said a few minutes ago. Kanna gasped and Terri slapped her forehead. “Ooh, I should choke Static for that!” Terri exclaimed.

“Shonta beat you to it. Worst of all is that Char told me not to go near Ryan for Ryan’s sake, which doesn’t make sense to me,” I told them.

“It sort of makes sense to me. If Shonta tries to correct her problem, she might make it worse. Ryan might simmer down on his own.” She lowered her voice as some humans walked by us. “But if he gets worse this may affect his Aurora Crystal.”

I shuddered at that thought, remembering the time Shonta’s crystal summoned Raikou when she got angry at Char. Then a terrible thought came to me. “Kanna? Is there a chance that Ryan may become an Umbra Demon?”

Kanna scratched her chin. “It depends. Umbra Demons are born out of hate, not depression. But Ryan won’t be able to fight using the crystal if his heart’s not in it.”

“So why would Char make Shonta and me stay away from Ryan?”

She shrugged. “Emotions are hard to understand and even harder to overcome. The best thing to do is to be careful at what we say and do to Ryan.”

I sighed and hung my head, feeling so helpless. But maybe Kanna was right. Maybe he would forget this whole thing by tomorrow morning. It may be wishful thinking, but it was good to be optimistic right then. I looked at the path leading to the Pokemon park. Shonta was walking toward us as if her feet were made of lead. Feather was flying high over her head, being silent (something that I didn’t know Feather could be). Reaper followed Shonta with his head high. I ran to them and rubbed against Shonta’s leg. “I thought you were going to stay at the park all day,” I told her, relieved.

For a second Shonta looked down at me with an empty expression. She looked like she was the one of the walking dead. There was nothing behind those eyes. Then she seemed to snap out of it. She looked sad, but the look was better than before. “Artemis? Are you ready for the tournament?” she asked me.

I mustered a smile. “Ready as I’ll ever be,” I said.

Shonta returned the strained smile. “Good. Let’s go.” I followed her to the arenas where the tournament was starting.

There was already a large crowd at the arenas waiting for the action to start. Most of them were sitting on a set of bleachers and the others were standing at a safe distance around the arenas. The latter were probably participants of the tournament.

I sat at Shonta’s feet as she stood with Terri and Kanna. Although I couldn’t see much at the height I was, Reaper could. “Reaper, could you look around and see if you can find Ryan?”

“Artemis, that may be dangerous,” Reaper warned.

“Dangerous? Not doing something about this little situation of ours is dangerous. Now would you please hover around a bit and see if you see him in this crowd?”

Reaper groaned and flew up a few feet. He hovered there for a few seconds and landed where he was standing. “I found him but you may not like what you see, Artemis.”

“Thank you all the same.” I activated my Faint Attack and sneaked away from Shonta. I weaved through pairs of legs, following what I thought was Ryan’s voice. I found him and, sure enough, I didn’t like what I saw. Ryan was standing with Char and Ripper, plus a girl I haven’t seen before. Ryan and the girl were laughing together. My heart felt like it had dropped to my stomach. I assured myself that he had just found a new friend and they were having a good time. But Ryan’s laugh sounded forced. It actually made me feel better. I knew he was still miserable. Well, here I am to make it better!

The girl asked Ryan something that I really didn’t want her to ask. “So Ryan, do you have a girlfriend?”

I closed my eyes. Please say yes, please say yes…

“I used to, but we sort of broke up,” Ryan said with regret in his voice.

My ears and tail drooped. Broke up? You couldn’t have broken up! She needs you! I made myself visible when Char wasn’t looking and tugged at his pants leg. “Ryan! I need to talk to you!”

Ryan looked down at me with a wrinkled nose and narrowed eyes. “Go away. Stupid Pokemon.”

For a mere second I thought my heart had stopped. “Stupid…Pokemon? Ryan, how could you call me that?” My front paws went on his leg. “Please go see Shonta. She’s not herself.”

“Do you know this Umbreon?” the girl asked Ryan.

He shook his head. “Probably begging for food. Shoo, I don’t have any food.” He kicked me off his leg rather roughly.

“Aren’t you listening to me?” I asked him angrily. “I’m not asking for food!”

He chuckled nervously at the girl. “Man, she must really be hungry. Hey Char, could you take this Umbreon somewhere else?”

“Fine! Don’t listen to me! Break Shonta’s heart even more! Jerk.”

Char picked me up by the scruff of the neck and carried me back to Reaper. I shouted at Ryan all the way back. Instead of putting me down carefully he just opened his hand and dropped me. “I told you to leave Ryan alone,” Char said.

“Hey, I’m only trying to help. Unlike you.” I stuck my tongue out at him and went back to sitting at Shonta’s feet. Shonta pushed her way to the front of the crowd to watch the current battle which happened to be Terri’s first in the tournament. In front of her was Aqua. Her opponent was battling with a Primeape. The two Pokemon stared down each other before lunging for each other. Primeape swung a fist that Aqua dodged by ducking. Aqua launched a Water Gun that hit Primeape right between the eyes.

I cheered for Terri and Aqua and stopped when a paw poked my shoulder. I turned around and glared at the face of a strange pink, long-legged, cat-like Pokemon. “I’m sorry but I’m busy right now,” I said as politely as I could.

“I just wanted to apologize,” she said.

I blinked. “For what?”

She smiled sweetly. “For my trainer stealing that boy’s heart away from your trainer.” She giggled like she said something cute.

From that point I could tell that there was something fishy about that Pokemon. She was just a little older than me but I must’ve been more mature. Evolution did nothing about her attitude. I turned my nose up at her. “I’m sorry but that girl didn’t steal anything from my trainer.”

“I’m afraid she did. Stacey is so irresistible that no guy could say no to her, especially some playboy like that Ryan character.”

My smooth skin stood on end as anger bubbled in my stomach. I stood up and arched my back, trying to make myself as big as possible. “Ryan isn’t some playboy! He’s my trainer’s best friend!”

The Pokemon didn’t seem in the least afraid. She stood her ground with a confused look on her face. “I’m sorry, but he doesn’t seem to like her anymore. But don’t worry! Stacey will take good care of him!” She giggled sweetly again and rushed back into the crowd before I could do anything to her.

I took deep breaths to try to calm myself down. It didn’t work. That cat Pokemon angered me so much that I could think straight. She actually had the audacity to say those things when my trainer was in earshot! Of course she didn’t know that Shonta couldn’t understand her but that didn’t change things. That Pokemon was going to pay.

I looked up at Shonta and was glad to see that she didn’t seem to have paid attention to my conversation with the unfamiliar cat Pokemon. The bad news was that she watched the entire battle and I missed Terri win. The Primeape was frozen in a block of ice. But I was going to get some good news.

The referee walked to the center of the arena that the participants of the Misdreavus House tournament. “Will Shonta Jones and…Stacey report to the field?”

“Oh man, this better not be the Stacey that I met earlier,” Shonta groaned.

I grinned fiendishly. It looks like I’m going to have my wish come true. I walked to my side of the arena with Shonta, casting the girl that was flirting with Ryan a dirty look. To my surprise many guys watching the battle were cheering for her. I suddenly got a bad feeling.

<Win, little sister. My trainer already has bet on you,> a familiar psychic voice said. I looked around until I saw Riku and Apollo sitting on the bleachers.

No problem, big brother. This should be easy. I chuckled wickedly at Stacey as she stood on her end of the arena, blowing kisses to various guys.

“Go, Artemis!” Shonta shouted. I proudly walked to the front of Shonta.

“Time to perform, Venus!” Stacey said cheerfully. The cat-like Pokemon sat in front of Stacey and stuck her tongue out at me.

“It’s Shonta’s Umbreon versus Stacey’s Delcatty! Let the match…begin!” the referee announced.

“Artemis, Quick Attack!” Shonta shouted as soon as the referee had finished talking.

It only took a fraction of a second for me to react. I sprinted as fast as I could and charged into Venus’s side before she could get out of the way. She rolled on the ground a few times and sprung back up on her paws.

“Looks like you drew first blood but my Venus is going to get…” Stacey started.

“Quick Attack again!” Shonta commanded while Stacey was still talking. I sprinted again and crashed into Venus’s chest, sending her flying head over paws. But she still landed on her feet.

“…the last laugh. Could you let me finish next…”

“Quick Attack again!”

“Counter with Thunderbolt!” Stacey said, seemingly on instinct.

As soon as I made contact with Venus, she sparked and unleashed electricity that wasn’t as powerful as Static without the Shock Crystal but painful nonetheless. I staggered back, smoking and shaking but recovering. The good thing about being an Umbreon is that I can take a hit pretty well.

“Shake it off, Artemis! Use a Faint Attack!” Shonta told me. I nodded and turned invisible. I slowly circled Venus a few times before charging her and plowing into her side.

“Where is she?” Stacey asked herself. “Venus, use Uproar!”

What’s Uproar? I thought as Venus cleared her throat. Stupid question. Venus screeched as loud as she could, bringing me to my knees. I threw my head back and howled. I couldn’t concentrate on my Faint Attack with that noise!

“Good! Keep it up and charge up your Solarbeam!” Stacey said.

Somehow Venus was able to keep up the ruckus while charging up her next attack. I opened an eye and saw the specks of sunlight concentrating at the end of her tail.

“Get out of the way, Artemis!” Shonta cried, her voice and face full of panic.

Venus shot her Solarbeam. A huge beam of intense sunlight was headed for me. I jumped to the side but the attack grazed my side. I was too slow. Venus didn’t need an order from her trainer to tell her how to finish me off. She took a deep breath and breathed out ice and snow. I was too hurt to move anymore. I felt my body get cold and stiff…

I looked out from my prison cell of ice, faintly hearing my trainer’s cries for help. I was moved from the arena. Cinder came to my rescue, using his Flamethrower to melt the ice. Kanna and Terri came and wrapped a blanket around me. Ryan was nowhere to be found. “Thanks,” I said to them.

“No problem. How do you feel?” Kanna asked me.

“Okay,” I said meekly. That was a lie. I felt humiliated. I was shown up by a Delcatty that had the maturity of a kitten and a mouth that I would love to slap. I shivered in Shonta’s arms as she rubbed my side. “Where’s Ryan?” I asked Terri.

“He’s in a battle. That psycho’s using Char!” she answered.

“What? I’m not using Feather. Why is he using his guardian?” Shonta asked.

“I bet it’s to show off to that Stacey,” I muttered in a voice to low for anyone to hear.

“Speaking of Feather, where is she? I haven’t seen her since I left the park.”

“She’s somewhere around the campus. Probably right above us.”

“We’re going to try to talk to Ryan. You stay here with Artemis,” Kanna said.

Shonta nodded. When the others walked off, she let out Static. Static gasped when he saw my shivering form. “Artie! What happened to ya?”

“I lost to a Delcatty,” I answered. “She used Blizzard on me.”

“That’s bad. Where’s Ryan?”

From the other arena came a voice that said, “And Charizard wins the battle!” It must’ve been the referee. I was desperate to get him alone and talk to him. I struggled to my paws and started to walk there but Shonta held me back. “I need to talk to Ryan, Shonta.”

Shonta looked down at me with sad eyes. “Artemis, Ryan needs some time alone. I’m sure the last thing he needs is us bugging him.”

My eyes went wide. “I can’t believe what you’re saying. If we don’t talk to him now…I’m going. Don’t try to stop me.” I broke away from her embrace and stumbled to the other arena with her following me.

Ryan was standing with Char, looking proud. Char looked a little bored. Of course he was bored! He was the son of a Characific Valley Charizard! All of those opponents must’ve been small fries compared to him.

Shonta stopped in her tracks as Stacey ran to Ryan. “Ryan, I’m so proud! You have such a strong Charizard!” she said happily.

I didn’t like the look on Shonta’s face as Stacey took Ryan’s arm and started to drag him somewhere. It was the empty expression that I saw when she was leaving the park. I, however, wasn’t defeated yet. I got behind Shonta and pushed her until she moved. She ran to Ryan and stood in front of him and Stacey. She put on the best smile she could muster. “Hey Ryan. I heard you won the match. Congrats!”

Stacey blinked but didn’t let go of Ryan’s arm. “Hey Ryan, do you know this girl?” she asked him.

Ryan ignored her. His eyes were cold as they glared at Shonta. “Where were you?” he asked Shonta.

Shonta took a step forward. “I was tending to Artemis. She was frozen in a block of ice.”

“So that’s where Cinder went.” His glare traveled down to Cinder, who rubbed his face furiously.

I can’t believe that Ryan’s mad at Cinder for helping me! Is he that mad at Shonta?

“Why didn’t you put your Umbreon back in her pokeball as soon as she was thawed?” Stacey asked me. “Then you could’ve caught his battle.”

I was relieved that Shonta looked a little indignant at Stacey’s suggestion. “Excuse me but Artemis was cold. She needed warmth, not confinement.”

“Stacey’s right,” Ryan said to my surprise. “Your Umbreon would’ve been fine in her pokeball.”

My ears lay flat against my head. Now he’s referring to me as her Umbreon? He’s not even bothering to say my name anymore?

Shonta held her hand to her cheek. She had been mentally slapped by his agreeing with Stacey. Nevertheless she stood tall and looked Ryan in the eye. “If you’re more concerned about your pride and your new girlfriend than you are about Pokemon then maybe you should forget about being a Pokemon researcher!”

Without warning Ryan lashed out and slapped Shonta hard across her face. She fell on the grass, stunned. Everyone watching, including Kanna and Terri, wore stunned faces. Even Char looked a little stunned. Silence fell. Ryan returned his hand to his side and looked down at Shonta as if she was something he just scraped off of his shoe. “If you’re more concerned about your precious Pokemon than you are about about me then maybe you should forget about being my girlfriend,” he said in a serious voice. He walked off with Stacey, leaving Shonta lying in the grass.

Terri helped Shonta to her feet and dusted the grass off of her clothes. “Cousin? Are you okay?” she asked her.

Shonta stood silent and shocked for a few seconds before breaking out in tears. “No!” She buried her head in Terri’s shirt and cried as loud as she could.

mr_pikachu
25th October 2005, 02:07 AM
From the perspective of a fellow writer, I love the painful emotions you put into this chapter. From the perspective of a reader... it hurts to read that. ;_;

Wow. Great emotions here. Several of the techniques you used were highly effective in drawing your readers into the story. I could really feel the anguish which Shonta felt. I'm sure pretty much all of your readers can relate to a break-up. Though I'm sure that very few have experienced it in this manner. Nice use of the tournament as both a literal hotspot for the emotions and as an excellent metaphor for Shonta and Ryan. The former lost in a tough match, and the latter won with ease. Also, nice portrayal of the different ideas of the Pokemon on how to deal with the problem. Looks like Artemis' actions really made the problems even worse...

I do think that some of the more technical aspects of this chapter could have been improved, though. For one thing, the sentence structures and specific words used seemed a little off at times. Words like "forbade" and "plus" can be weird in a fairly informal narrative like this one, for one thing. And some of the sentences appeared either very formal or somewhat confusing due to word ordering. And watch out for typos and repetition, too.

Still, there weren't any major problems here; I only saw a few specific things that might have been improvable. Overall, this was a very, very compelling chapter. You've obviously spent quite a bit of time with character development, because such passion could not be conveyed through unclear or underdeveloped characters. You successfully used them as a brilliant medium for these difficult emotions, and that's not easy to do. Excellent work here. This is probably my favorite chapter of yours in quite a while. Very nicely done. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this develops in the next chapter. Awesome job!

darktyranitar
31st October 2005, 03:13 AM
Aw, man. Why'd Ryan do that? After all they have been through, a break up? Shouldn't his feeling to Shonta would make him get over the incident quickly?

Wow. I never though that it would turned out this way. Yes, great, painful emotions but hurts to read ;_;...Is a permanent break-up between Shonta and Ryan coming?Things couldn't get any worse...

classy_cat18
12th May 2006, 02:54 PM
I'm sorry that you've waited this long for another short, kinda filler chapter. We’re going to Shonta’s POV.

Dropped

What did I do to deserve this? That was the only thing that went through my mind as I cried into Terri’s shirt. Finally it seemed that I couldn’t cry anymore. I just stood there sniffing. My heart wasn’t just broken in two; it had shattered into a million pieces like someone took a sledgehammer and smashed it.

Theresa ran to us with a sad look on her face. “I saw what happened. We should take you to your room,” she told me.

I shook my head. “I want to stay and watch the tournament.”

“Why is that? So you can watch Ryan’s head grow?” Terri asked me.

“No, so I can watch him get knocked down a peg,” I growled.

Static grinned. “Dat’s the spirit, Shonta! Don’t blubber over dat loser! Dump him like he dumped you!”

I felt guilty for saying it but it was true. Ryan had barely been with Stacey for an hour and he already had an ego the size of Sunflower Town. Getting creamed might bring him back to his senses. “Static, I’m not dumping him. Not yet.”

“You might get your wish, Shonta. Riku’s won his battle with Magic. That means he’s going up against Ryan next,” Kanna informed us.

We headed into the bleachers and watched some more battles. We didn’t see Ryu, Ryan’s roommate, battle. He was, however, watching the tournament with interest.

Before we knew it, it was time for Ryan and Riku’s battle. Ryan took his place at one end at the arena, Char already out and ready to battle. Stacey stood away from the arena but still cheered him on. Riku stood on the opposite side of the arena with Apollo by his side. The referee was about to announce the start of the battle when Riku spoke. “Ryan, I saw the whole thing. Why would you do that to your best friend?”

“You know why! I saw you with your arm around her waist!” Ryan roared.

I clapped my hand over my mouth. He saw that scene with Stacey. “What did I get myself into?” I asked myself.

But Ryan wasn’t finished ranting. “Shonta didn’t seem to have any objection! After she said that you meant nothing to her I find her…enough talk. Let’s battle.” He had calmed down a bit.

It sounds like he didn’t see the whole thing. That’s bad.

“Go, Char!” Ryan shouted.

“Your turn, Apollo,” Riku said calmly.

“Let the match…begin!” the referee announced.

It was all over in a few seconds. Apollo’s eyes glowed a cold blue. Char’s body was surrounded by an aura of the same color and was hurled out off the field. It was considered a ring-out. “Wow. Poor Charizard didn’t even have a chance,” someone near me commented.

“Sure didn’t,” Static said with a chuckle.

Riku bowed to the defeated trainer and looked straight at me. He flashed a smile that gave me a weird feeling. He waved to me and left the arena. “Well, what should we do now?” I asked Terri and Kanna.

“I have to battle Stacey so I’m going to be here for a while.” She groaned as her stomach gave a loud roar. “Maybe you should bring me something back from the cafeteria.”

Cafeteria. In high school the word struck terror in the hearts of even the bravest students. “I hope it’s better than I’m picturing it,” I mock whimpered.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The food turned out to be delicious. I got Terri and myself a bowl of ramen from the ramen shop in the cafeteria. By then she had pummeled Stacey and laughed in her face. Unfortunately the rest of the tournament was canceled due to an incoming storm. The mystery was that no one had forecasted one. We could’ve fought in the covered stadium but that would’ve taken too long with just one field.

I sat on my side of the dorm room and sadly looked out of the window. The walls on my side of the room was decorated with postcards from Kumquat Island (Mom got them for me) and some of my best sketches. There was a large poster with all of the Eeveelutions on Theresa’s side of the room that was signed by a group of girls that lived in Ecruteak City. The Umbreon looked beautiful. Then again, so was Artemis.

Theresa sat with her green Pokemon on the other side of the room. She told me earlier that it was called a Vibrava. When it evolved it would be too big for the room. It almost looked too big now.

Theresa heard me sigh after a long silence and spoke. “It can’t be that bad. I’m sure that by now your friend has realized that he overreacted and is willing to apologize.”

“But I can’t face him,” I said softly. “I think I dug a hole too deep to climb out.”

“How are you going to know that if you don’t find out for yourself?” She gave me a small smile.

I smiled a little myself and stood up. Artemis looked at me with hopeful eyes. “You know what? I think I’ll go talk to him. I’m not losing him to some blonde supermodel!” I said boldly.

Theresa’s smile disappeared. “You’re sounding like your cousin.”

“It’s about time.” I motioned Artemis to stay in the room and walked out of there with my umbrella. I jogged carefully in the pouring rain to Gastly House and was about to walk to Ryan’s room when he stepped out of the restroom.

He stared at me with confused eyes and then gave me a hard look. “Are you here for Riku again?” he asked me harshly.

I ignored the small pain that his question gave. “No, I’m here for you. I don’t want to talk about it here where everyone can hear so can we go in your room?”

“No, my roommate’s in there,” he said, directing his gaze back to the restroom door. He usually was able to look me in the eye when answering my questions. He was lying.

“Okay, I’ll just say it here quickly. I’m sorry that I was so close to Riku but I didn’t mean to do that. It was Riku’s idea. He was trying to get all of those girls off of his back.” I held my breath while waiting for his reaction.

To my surprise he rubbed his head and chuckled. “I had a feeling he would do that. I’m sorry I overreacted.”

I nearly cried in happiness right then. I wrapped my arms around him and held him tightly. “I’m so glad we’re not like that anymore. I…” I looked up and saw his mouth in a frown. He didn’t look as happy as I was anymore. “What’s wrong?”

“Shonta, I think it’s best that we don’t do this. Stacey might see,” he said slowly.

I broke away from him. “I knew you were lying,” I growled. “She’s in your room right now, isn’t she?” I turned to go look for her and tear her apart but Ryan grabbed my shoulder. “Let me go!”

Ryan looked around as guys started sticking their heads out of their rooms. He lowered his voice to a near whisper. “Shonta, stop this! We actually like each other! Why can’t you be happy for us?”

I pulled even harder against him, unable to listen to him talk that nonsense. “Because we’re supposed to be together!”

“Maybe we weren’t.” He waited until I stopped struggling and the hallway was clear of heads again. “Maybe we were just meant to be friends. We’ve been that way ever since we were kids. Why do you want to mess that up now?”

I fought the tears that were welling up in my eyes. My voice also became a whisper. “Because I know I love you now. I know.” My legs gave up and I dropped to my knees. “Please tell me that you feel the same.”

“I don’t know.” He let go of me and started to walk to his dorm room.

“Stop!” I cried out. He did that and turned to face me. “What happened to us?”

He hesitated answering a moment while a tear ran down his face. “We grew up.” He entered his dorm and left me alone.

Nothing happened after that for a whole minute. I sat there in the hallway, not bawling my eyes out but far from walking on sunshine. I picked up my umbrella and sprinted back to Misdreavus House, not caring that I was getting soaked in the rain. I went downstairs, turned a corner and crashed into someone. Seeing as he was slightly bent down we banged heads and both of us went down. I rubbed my head furiously and saw that Riku was doing the same. “You. What are you doing here?” I asked him.

He flashed me a smile that made him look a little cute. “I suppose you’re not having a good evening either.”

“No, I’m not. So answer my question.”

“I’m asking you for a very big favor.”

“So ask.”

He leaned on the door to my room and groaned. “My dad’s pulling out this stupid fancy party and he wants me to bring a date. It’s going to be at my mansion not too far from here.”

“I’m not going with you. I may not be Ryan’s favorite anymore but I don’t want to be involved with anyone right now.”

He chuckled pleasantly. It almost gave me goosebumps. It almost made me feel better. “You won’t be involved with me. It’s just one date. If my pleading won’t make you cave in, how about a bribe?” He pulled out a blue box from his backpack and waved it in my face.

I snatched the box from his grasp and gasped. “It’s…”

“I know.”

I considered the deal. All I have to do is look pretty for a while and I’ll get a prize. Doesn’t sound like there’s a catch to it. “I don’t have anything to wear,” I admitted.

“I’ll get someone to take you for a custom fitting.”

I smirked. “Deal. But I’m warning you that I’m not one for fancy parties.”

“Neither am I. But at least you’re not being forced to go to this thing.”

“I’m doing this for the iPod Mini.”

He reached for me and moved a few dangling wet hairs out of my face, brushing his skin against my forehead. His eyes were so beautiful that I had to avert my gaze from them. “I know,” he said with another chuckle. He walked past me to the stairs and gave me one last look. “I’m sorry about what happened to you and Ryan but you were mistreated. You deserve better.”

I scoffed. “Like you?”

“Well…” He left it like that and climbed the stairs.

I stood there in the doorway, one hand on the doorknob of the door to my dorm room. I felt ashamed. I haven’t even been broken up for one day and I’m already dating another guy. But why should I care? Ryan dropped me for someone else. I should do the same. I entered my dorm room to face the soon to be devastated Artemis.

darktyranitar
12th May 2006, 10:51 PM
Ah, it's good that the fic is back.

So, it's not only out of jealousy that Ryan dumped Shonta? Now I'm not too sure wether to hate Ryan or not. I know he shouldn't have overreacted, but he seemed to be a bit confused.

Now, I'm predicting that something unexpected will happen at the party. And that won't make Shonta happy... But that's only one of my early prediction.

mr_pikachu
14th May 2006, 03:39 AM
YES! IT HAS RETURNED! :D

I've gotta agree with darktyranitar here. Something's going to happen at the party. Maybe Ryan will be there, or maybe Riku's father will be expecting something that Shonta won't see coming. Either way, I'll bet the world won't be enough to make up for what'll happen, much less an iPod.

Anyway, this was a good, albeit short return for this fic. Good job with building upon the tension that you worked hard to develop rather than letting it fall by the wayside in a quick resolution. Nice use of the weather; it made sense for the plot developments, and it was a good metaphor for Shonta's emotions. Way to make Stacey's continued presence known without a single line of dialogue from her, too.

There was one thing that seemed a little off, though: the closing of the tournament felt very rushed. Although the unexplained weather was a good idea, it might have been more dramatic if that event had been given more substance. Even showing everyone reacting to the cancellation announcement might have been good. But aside from a vague reference and a little bit of tense issues at the end, that was the only real problem I saw.

This was good work, overall. You're good at showing the emotions of characters in awkward situations, and you really showed that here. Excellent job with keeping the tension and throwing some new twists into the fray. It'll be interesting to see how the relationships between the characters develop now. Anyway, I'll be looking forward to your next chapter! Until then! :wave:

classy_cat18
14th May 2006, 07:30 PM
Aww guys, don't predict what happens next! It spoils the surprise! *pouts*

mr_pikachu: I think I'm getting better. Yeah, I thought the same thing but I didn't want the chapter to orbit around the tournament. But there will be action up ahead! And maybe some catfights.

Charles Legend
14th May 2006, 10:25 PM
um from what I have read so far Classycat, this looks to be a grat fic you have here, um I havent read all the chapters yet but maybe some day when I take a brake fom the ASB, AC/CC I well ceatch up, and odd I tought I replied to this, but it mite have been on the old server.

~Charles Legend

classy_cat18
18th May 2006, 10:53 PM
Charles Legend: Yay, a new reader! Make sure you've read A Doolittle of Pokemon first!

I'm sorry if this is getting boring for you guys. It will get interesting soon, I promise.

The First Classes

I could feel the mattress dip under Artemis’s weight as she stalked her way up to my head but chose to keep my eyes closed. The room would be bright with sunshine and I didn’t want my eyes to get overloaded. She licked my ear until my guard was down then bit down on it lightly, just enough to get a little yelp out of me. “What did you do that for?” I whined as I rubbed my earlobe.

“That was your wake up call,” Artemis answered smugly as I slid out of bed. “You have classes today so hurry up!”

“You have classes too, you know,” I said with a smirk. “You, Static and Reaper.”

She blinked. “What in the world am I doing with classes?”

I patted her head after I was done throwing on my clothes. “Come on, buddy of mine. You need something to do today. You’re going with me to ‘Technical Machines 101’ today and Reaper’s going to attend ‘Overcoming Your Weaknesses’ tomorrow.”

“What about Static?”

I put on an evil smirk. “He’s doing ‘Beginning Acting’ today. It’s basically learning how to lip sync with what humans are saying to make it look like he’s talking. All he has to do is add in a few dramatic poses and he’ll be just fine.”

“Aww man! How come he gets the easy course?”

“Because his brain easily gets overloaded,” I said with a laugh.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

My first class by myself was Pokemon Mythology. It was a core class for those taking Pokemon Biology for their major, which meant that I would have to in the same room as Ryan. Luckily Riku’s major was Pokemon Technology and Terri decided to take the class for fun so I wouldn’t get too emotional during class.

The room consisted of comfortable rotating chairs and long tables, three to a row with three chairs behind each table. There were three rows of tables. Twenty seven students were in this class. Ryan and I sat on opposite sides of the room and avoided each other’s gaze. Terri sat next to me behind a long table and joked about how she kicked Stacey’s butt in the tournament until the devil herself walked through the door with a skirt that she wouldn’t have been able to wear in high school and sat next to Ryan. Terri nudged me and hissed, “She’s trying to get underneath your skin. Don’t let it get to you.”

“I’m not. Ryan and I will most likely be just friends now. I don’t even think we’ll be as close as we were before we came to this school,” I whispered.

I wasn’t surprised that Stacey would look at me every now and then to make sure I was watching her run her fingers through Ryan’s hair. In fact, I didn’t care. I was just making sure that she was watching when I gave her the finger. I guessed by the “how dare you” look on her face that she was.

So what did surprise me that morning? Our teacher. He walked through the door wearing a purple suit and white cape as I was flipping the bird at Stacey. He glared at me and said, “I don’t know who you are but I suggest you put down that finger.”

I had an urge to say, “You don’t know me? I was the one who scared your sorry butt at the Pokemon Center.” But I didn’t. I just did what he said and kept my eyes on the whiteboard in the front of the room.

The teacher stood in front of his desk and introduced himself like he was some great performer. “I am Eusine and I will be your professor for this class. If you want a satisfactory grade I recommend you listen to every single word I say.” He glared at me like he knew I wasn’t going to follow his recommendation and started to slowly pace in front of us, looking like a drill sergeant inspecting his lowly maggots. “They say that this class is called Pokemon Mythology yet most of the Pokemon we will be studying are, in fact, quite real. We will start with the three legendary beasts.”

Someone in the class raised his hand. “You mean the legendary dogs?” he asked Eusine.

That was a mistake. Eusine immediately stomped up to the guy and slammed both open palmed hands on the desk. Everyone in the class flinched at the sound. “They are not dogs! If you have been keeping up with the current research you might even find out that Raikou and Entei are more feline than canine!”

The guy cringed under Eusine’s angry stare. “My mistake, sir,” he whimpered.

Eusine backed off and sat down at his desk. “Raikou. Entei. Suicune. These legendary beasts are the pride of Johto. There were many theories about the origin of these three but they all started around the burning of the Tin Tower.” He paused for a minute as we jotted down notes. “But what about their past lives? Some people say that at least one of them was appointed as a guard of the Tin Tower around that time.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

To make a long story short, Eusine droned on and on like that until class was over. Since that was a ten o’clock class, lunch was next followed by my class with Artemis. This was actually one of the required courses for all students. They had to register one of their Pokemon with them so they could also take the class.

I let Artemis out of the dorm room and walked with her to the quad arenas where the class was taking place. The human Aurora Knights and Theresa were there, as well as several more people. I sat next to Theresa in the bleachers and waited for the teacher to come.

I also recognized this teacher. It was Morty, the gym leader for Ecruteak City Gym. He seemed like the exact opposite of Eusine as he stood on the field and waved amiably. We couldn’t help but wave back. “Hello, and welcome to Technical Machines 101. I’ll be your teacher on how to teach your Pokemon attacks that they wouldn’t normally learn by themselves. Although I’m sure most of you already know how to do this, you will be given harder attacks to learn.”

He smiled and continued speaking. “This is a class for both you and your Pokemon. The humans will learn the basics of teaching attacks not normally learned in the wild and the Pokemon will learn how to use those attacks. The next class I will bring over a Move Tutor from Hoenn who will help you teach your Pokemon another attack. Your Pokemon will be required to have learned both attacks by the end of the semester.” He looked around at the bewildered faces. “I’m not putting too much pressure on you, am I?”

The students laughed a little with Morty. The laughing stopped when a Gengar ghostly rose out of the ground and chuckled. “This is my Gengar. No nickname, just Gengar. We will show you an attack that the Move Tutor taught us.” A Rattata that was scampering across the field was stopped by Gengar’s psychic powers and levitated over to the arena. “Gengar, Metronome!”

Gengar raised two fingers in the air and started to swish them from side to side. The Rattata and the students watched in fascination. Gengar stopped his fingers and winked at his opponent, trying to look attractive. The Rattata swooned at his feet, proving to me that a) it was female and b) love really is blind.

“I didn’t even know that Gengar could learn Metronome,” I whispered to Theresa.

“Move Tutors are the big thing for Pokemon trainers and breeders,” Theresa whispered back.

So Morty assigned us our first attack to teach to our Pokemon. Artemis’s was Psychic, a tough one but one that would be beneficial in the future. Morty said he had faith in me and knew that Artemis could easily lift something her weight psychically. I instantly liked him as a teacher.

We practiced our attacks for the rest of the class. Ryan and Cinder pretty much had Dig down but Artemis and I were really struggling with Psychic. It made a lot of sense. Digging was second nature to a Pokemon like Cinder. Artemis was a Dark type, so I haven’t even heard of them being able to learn Psychic. Some researcher-to-be I was.

Pretty soon the class ended and it was time for me to go to Beginning Acting with Static. Artemis said she would hang out at the park with the others until that class was over. Riku called out to me as I started to leave. “The dinner party is two days from now so I’ll have someone pick you up tomorrow to get you a dress,” he informed me.

I hesitated before nodding. It just felt wrong to go and enjoy myself with Riku while I still had feelings for Ryan. I got an idea just as he was backing up to head back to his dorm. “Riku, I have a condition. If I go, Terri goes.”

Riku didn’t look surprised in the least. “Deal. We need all the fun we can get.” He put on his sunglasses and took off.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The teacher couldn’t make it to the next class. Instead her Pokemon was substituting for her. Yes, her Pokemon. A talking Golduck was waiting for us in front of the blackboard as we filled the seatless room. “Ah, fellow thespians. Welcome to Beginning Acting. Miss Aria couldn’t make it so I, Donald, am her sub. I see all of the aspiring actors willing to make a break on Broadway. No Broadway? That’s okay. I don’t see many movers and shakers anyway.”

“What is this quack talkin’ ‘bout? It’s a freakin’ class, for cryin’ out loud!” Static hissed.

Donald swiftly moved and whacked Static with a paper fan. “Thou shall not talketh when the teacher talketh!” Donald yelled dramatically in his native tongue. I didn’t ask him if that was supposed to be one of the forgotten Commandments.

Static rubbed his head and smirked. Apparently the smack on the head did nothing but make his attitude worse. “I apologizeth to thee, friend,” he imitated. “Would ye be so kind as to alloweth me to go taketh the wiz?”

“Nay,” Donald said bluntly.

“Fool! Foul bastard! Thou shall faceth the wrath of a thousand bean burritos!”

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at Static’s joke. He definitely stuffed himself full of bean burritos at lunch. Donald glanced at me, suspicious that I would laugh even though as far as he knew I couldn’t understand him. I quickly stopped laughing. “I’m sorry. He just sounded so funny when he was mad.”

He shook his head sadly. “We’ll just start with our mouthing exercises. First, the vowels. A, E, I, O, U. Everyone watch my beak and tongue.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

After the acting class it was pretty boring until nightfall. Artemis and I walked around the campus, enjoying the stars and talking about what had happened so far. We were at the outskirts of the campus so no one knew we were out there. I felt the warmth of the glowing Light Dragon Key through my shirt. A friend was nearby.

“Is it Raikou?” Artemis asked me quietly.

“Most likely. Let’s sniff him out.” I already felt the changes start as I touched the key with a finger. I fell on all fours and finished the transformation. Feeling comfortable as a Raitah for some reason, I ran into the woods and straight into the midst of the mighty legendary beast.

“I’ve come to warn you,” Raikou said solemnly. “The storm is getting stronger. Your greatest test is yet to come.”

“I’ve heard that before. Any hints on my upcoming enemies?” I asked him, a little disappointed that he didn’t say anything unexpected.

He raised a paw and gently placed it on my shoulder. “Keep on your toes. They’ll find out where you are sooner or later.”

I sighed. “Great. Umbra Demons behind me, Stacey in front of me.”

mr_pikachu
19th May 2006, 12:19 AM
Hmm, that's an odd ending. I wonder if there's something... more to Stacey? Something that might explain Ryan's strange behavior? ...Nah. It couldn't be.

Anyway, even though this was another filler that (ironically) appears to be the calm before the storm, you still made it interesting. Good use of humor, especially with Shonta's finger trick and Static's eloquence. Also, nice job showing not only the emotions that Shonta is trying to display - that she's fine emotionally and doesn't care who Ryan dates - as well as what might lie deeper. After all, why would she flip Stacey off if she didn't care at all? There are definitely some deeper wounds there, even if she tries to hide them.

You might be going a tad too far with Raikou's enigmatic personality, though. Vagueness can be a very good thing for drama, but the lack of information that Raikou is giving seems a little off. While it may be the nature of the beast's personality to want to test Shonta, it just doesn't feel right to me. I dunno; it's just a sense I'm getting. Also, on a more grammatical note, be sure to watch your tenses.

Despite the filleriness (not a word, as far as I know) of this chapter, it was still good. As I've said before, you tend to be skilled at making anything interesting, and it's easy to do with humorous characters like Static and emotions like those of Shonta and Ryan. But even still, it'll be really nice once the plot starts heating up again. I'll be looking forward to further developments, and especially to the next chapter. Until then! :wave:

darktyranitar
19th May 2006, 05:45 AM
Whew, the last few chapters does lack some humours, so the humours in this chapter are a good welcome. Static isn't too annoying in this chapter, I suppose.

Hmm, I agree with mr_pikachu that this appear to be the calm before the storm. Looking towards the upcoming chapters!

(Short replies? Sorry, my mind is quite blank at the moment.... But be assured, I enjoyed this chapter:).)

classy_cat18
14th July 2006, 12:28 AM
I...have returned!

There’s Something About Stacey

The day of the party came. I spent a whole five minutes staring at my dress. It was one of those slimming dresses that hung off the shoulders. It came with gloves that went up to my elbow. I even had to get a pair of shoes to go with the dress. Hey, I never have had to wear heels before.

Theresa petted her Ramfrio and walked up to get a better look at the dress. “It’s very pretty. Riku must mean something to you for you to do this for him,” she commented.

“He’s rich. That’s all there is to it,” Glacier grumbled.

I once more ignored the moody Pokemon. “He’s my friend. I don’t want him suffering through something like a fancy dinner party. Besides, it’s also for the iPod Mini.” I felt the unfamiliar texture of the dress. “I hope nothing goes wrong tonight.”

“Then you should stop hoping. Murphy’s Law might go into effect again.” She smiled to let me know that she was kidding. “But seriously, do you know what to do at a dinner party?”

“Riku’s cronies ran me by it while I was being fitted. Basically I should be polite, smile, and bow when needed. There was also a lot of dinner etiquette that I can’t really remember.”

Theresa’s eyes went wide. “Oh no.”

I laughed out loud. “I’m just kidding! I remember it all, from the different forks and spoons to the purpose to the little water bowl.”

“Okay, as long as you have that down. I’ll see you after my classes.” She left the room with her books and Ramfrio.

Artemis’s head rose from her paws. “We’re not going to do much over there, right? I mean, don’t you hate this sort of thing?” she asked.

“Of course I hate it. Bunch of stuffy noses talking about the stock market and their mansions? Not for me. But you go through these kinds of things for a friend.” I stroked her head and scratched behind her ears, earning a bit of a purr from her for a short second.

“But he’s Riku! He’s not like Ryan!”

“And Stacey’s not like me, but Ryan seems to like her more anyway.”

She roughly shoved my hand away from me and jumped off of the bed. “I don’t like this. It feels wrong.” She gave a heavy sigh. “But the party requires that you bring a Pokemon. Reaper would go insane and Static would drive them insane.”

“And Feather?”

“Trust me. You’ll need me.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

After my classes I went down to the Pokemon park to talk to the other Aurora Knights. Terri was the first one to see me. “Shonta! Girl, I am so excited! Did you check out my dress?”

“Of course. I was with you when you got it. Who else is here?”

“Pretty much the whole crew. Except for Ryan; he’s somewhere else with Stacey.” She stepped back and let me pet Aqua. “The girl clings to him like white on rice. Riku had some business to take care of.”

Static and Reaper walked over to me and said hi. Static climbed on my shoulder and hugged my neck. “Shonta, can I come too? Please?” he pleaded.

“No offense, but you’ll be scaring the people with your pranks and confusing the Pokemon with your jokes,” Artemis joked.

“Hey, I’ll be doing everyone a favor! Those people wouldn’t know fun if it came and kicked them in the butt!”

“Where’s Feather?” I asked Reaper. As soon as the words escaped my lips I felt a sudden gust of wind and saw a flash of brown feathers. Feather had swooped down on us and landed beside me. “Oh.”

“How’s it going? I was just getting some aerial practice in with Char,” Feather said as she stretched her wings.

A shadow fell over me. I looked up to see Char landing near us. “That was a cheap shot, Feather. I told you that Aerial Ace was a cheap move!” he yelled at Feather.

“You can learn it too, Char,” Kanna commented.

“I know! I’m just saying that it’s cheap when she does it!” He jabbed his clawed finger at the Pidgeot while he said it. “She always hits me from behind!”

“Char, you should try to learn Protect. That way you can dodge her Aerial Ace.”

“I tried. She’s persistent.” He walked to a large flat rock and curled up on it.

I slowly walked to him and scratched behind his horns. For a second I thought about asking him about Ryan and Stacey. But then I thought about what he might say and stopped myself. “So what important Aurora Knight stuff is coming up? Any major Demon activity?” I decided to ask him.

He shook his head then started to scratch himself with his hind claws. “No. The rookies are getting good enough that they are taking care of most of it. There’s a problem going on in the Grand Neo Grasslands but Lady Imani said that she could take care of it.”

“What kind of problem?”

“Something about Team Rocket or someone like that lurking around the place.”

“Aren’t you worried about that?” Terri asked him. “I mean, this isn’t like that fruity anime. We’re definitely not talking about Jessie and James. The real deal can be pretty hardcore.”

“They still think that we’re a bunch of brainless animals that are dumb enough to fall for simple traps,” he growled.

“You should still tell them to be careful. Where’s the nearest Aurora Mirror? I’ll check things out tomorrow,” I offered.

“We had one installed in the back of your dorm room doors before you moved in,” he said with a smirk.

“You mean that’s an Aurora Mirror? You must think you’re so slick.”

He chuckled and nodded. “Just looking out for you guys.”

Cinder climbed up in my lap. “Char isn’t telling you something,” he said shyly.

“We caught Stacey telling one of her friends on the phone that she’s going to the same party that you’re going to,” Ripper said as he sat on the other side of Char. “I would’ve pinched her leg off but I didn’t want to cause any unnecessary trouble.”

“Oh great. More stress,” I groaned. “I thought I was going to have to worry about being bored to death at that party.”

“Yeah, Stacey and Ryan. Double the stress,” Artemis said.

“Actually…” Cinder started.

“Stacey didn’t tell Ryan about the party as far as we know,” Ripper said.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

A stretch limo was waiting for us at sundown. By then Terri and I had dressed, done our hair, and made sure our Pokemon were ready. I had already chosen Artemis but I was surprised at first that Terri wanted to take Bubbles the Azumarrill along. Then she explained about Aqua’s big mouth and I understood.

Riku’s mansion was located a few miles outside of Ecruteak. It was, in a word, amazing. The gates were guarded by life-size twin Arcanine carved out of white stone. We rode down a driveway that was probably a mile long, framed by small trees. The yard was probably larger than the Pokemon park. “I wonder how many lawn mowers it takes to mow this yard?” Terri asked as she gawked at everything.

“Daisuke probably has a fleet of those riding lawn mowers,” I joked. It was probably true.

“I wonder how much the electric bill costs,” Artemis mused.

“When you’re rich, you don’t have to worry about those things,” Bubbles said haughtily.

Riku was waiting for us in front door of the mansion. As soon as the limo stopped he walked up and helped both of us out, taking extra care with me. I felt my face get hot as he kissed my hand. “This isn’t a date,” I warned him.

“Of course not,” he said smoothly. “The guests are waiting in the living room.”

“The living room? Don’t you rich guys have a fancy term for it?” Terri joked.

Riku’s gaze briefly turned icy. I mean Arctic icy. Then he smiled slyly at me. “Maybe if you two are good, we can take a tour of the mansion,” he said while paralyzing me with his eyes.

I just nodded and followed him inside, my hand still in his. The foyer was amazing; there was an elegant chandelier hanging from the ceiling and a spiral staircase leading up to the next floor. We kept going into a large room with fancy couches and tables. A fireplace stood unlit on the left side.

But no one was sitting and no Pokemon other than ours. I could instantly find Daisuke standing among a group of people like a male lion standing before his pride. He glanced at us and then did a double take. “Riku. I see your guests are here,” he said in a voice as smooth as Riku’s. “Shonta and, uh…”

“Terri,” Terri finished, her good mood a little crushed.

“Oh yes. Sorry about that. You can mingle with the other guests until dinner is ready. But you…” He looked directly into my eyes. “I want to show off you.” He took my hand and walked with Riku to the other people.

I remembered my manners and bowed to the crowd. “Hello. My name is Shonta Jones and this is my Umbreon, Artemis.” Artemis also bowed.

“Such good manners,” a skeletal woman commented.

“Even the Pokemon is polite,” a man said pleasantly.

Terri decided that I should face the crowd of critics alone. She calmly walked up and bowed with Bubbles. “I’m Terri Williams, Shonta’s cousin. This is my Azumarrill, Bubbles. It’s nice to meet you.”

The woman from before looked at Daisuke with a shocked look. “You didn’t say she had a cousin! I say, do you have a boyfriend?”

I knew that Terri was fighting the urge to roll her eyes. The company that Daisuke kept seemed unlike himself. They were so cliché with their looks and their speech. I was surprised that Daisuke and Riku didn’t end up like them.

“Young lady, your Umbreon is outstanding! Is she breeding?” a well built woman asked me.

Artemis looked up and shook her head furiously at me. Bubbles snickered. “No, she’s not, Miss…” I said.

“Oh! It’s Mrs. Takinowa. I love Eeveelutions and I’m always looking for contest winners.”

“You compete in Pokemon contests?”

“Oh, I dabble in them.”

I guess they’re not so cliché after all. I left one group and looked around the room. Hidden in the next group was none other than Stacey. I was about to turn around and head back when I noticed one little fact.

The guy she was with wasn’t Ryan.

It was Ryu.

I was speechless but furious. Of course I should’ve been relieved that she wasn’t all over Ryan. But had he been tossed aside for his roommate? I hoped not! “What do you think you’re doing?” I demanded Stacey without even thinking.

The room got silent. Stacey just laughed a little and faced me. “I’m just having a nice evening. Don’t tell me you’re here to ruin it.”

She turned back to Ryu but I grabbed her shoulder and spun her around to face me. There was no way I was going to be ignored. “Where’s Ryan?”

“He’s back at the college.”

My grip on her tightened. “Why isn’t he here with you?”

Her smile got a little sinister. “Because he’s not my party guy.”

“P-party guy?”

“Yes. See, he’s my college guy and this here’s my party guy. I have guys for all occasions. I see that your ex-boyfriend’s not bright enough to figure that out.” She laughed out loud, not caring who heard it.

SLAP!

She stumbled back and held her cheek. I didn’t even know what I was doing; I was just reacting to my emotions. “Don’t treat Ryan like that,” I warned. A tear rolled down her cheek. The crocodile’s tears, however, didn’t move me. “He may not mean anything to you but he means the world to me.”

“How dare you…” she started.

“How dare I what? Try to slap some sense into you? I am like a Raitah, Stacey. You pranced your fancy little model ass into my territory and will get it chewed off if you don’t leave! Do you hear me?”

“Alright. About time,” I heard Terri say.

Stacey narrowed her eyes at me. “I will get you back. Do you understand?”

“Of course.” I smirked at her.

“Let’s go, Ryu.” She practically dragged him out of the mansion while Terri and I watched with amusement.

The_Missing_Link
14th July 2006, 12:38 AM
Short, but very satisfying. I can see Shonta tell Ryan about Stacey and Ryu, him denying it profusely and then after he catches Stacey with someone else, he meekly apologizes to Shonta and maybe they kiss and make up? If it happens, I wonder how Riku will feel. It's turning into quite a love triangle

darktyranitar
14th July 2006, 02:32 PM
Yeah, this is turning out to be quite a love triangle. Although I doubt it that Ryan will easily goes back to his senses. But then again, it brings hope that he might just go back to Shonta. Short but satisfying indeed.

Hey, isn’t Ryu is Ryan’s roommate? Something might happen between them…

mr_pikachu
18th July 2006, 12:53 PM
And the plot thickens!

So Stacey's not just playing the field, she's playing the whole field all at once! Although I find it a little hard to believe that such a secret between roommates is so easily kept. And, like dt said, I rather doubt that Ryan will recover his sanity so quickly. There's something more going on here. I'm more worried about how this event will affect Shonta's standing with the party, especially how her words kind of contradict her role as Riku's fake date. So much for the iPod Mini... :(

This was nice and short, although a tad more description could've been nice. The setting could've especially been a little more detailed in this case, as our favorite guests were certainly marvelling at it. Also, I'm actually a bit interested to hear more about the other guests, especially how they were stereotypical and yet somewhat normal. For instance, maybe the Pokemon contest lady has a little good sense. Maybe.

Anyway, this was a nice little tidbit. I'm curious as to how this incident will change the nature of the party, and how this new information will affect the love triangle (love square) between Shonta, Ryan, and friends. It should be exciting to see! Well, until next chapter! :wave:

classy_cat18
19th July 2006, 03:22 PM
You know, as I was finishing this, I thought of Kelly Clarkson's "Behind These Hazel Eyes". Fits the chapter perfectly.

Broken in Two

I glanced around at the other guests' faces. Most were shocked. A couple were indifferent. Mine was nervous. Oh man. How to avert this disaster?

"Dear, who is Ryan?" Mrs. Takinowa asked me, a hand to her heart as if she was trying to avoid a heart attack.

My own hand was going to my heart as if I was doing the same thing. I wanted so badly to say, "Ryan is the love of my life and I would do anything to get him back!"

Instead I said, "He's a very good friend of mine. I didn't want his heart to get broken because his girlfriend was playing around."

"But what about that talk about her being in your territory?"

That I couldn't answer to. My jaw was trying but I couldn't find the words to save myself. I was on the verge of hyperventilating when Daisuke stepped between us and frowned at Mrs. Takinowa. "You can leave her alone now. I want to talk to her and my son myself."

I gulped and looked over at Riku. His face was emotionless, something that I've never seen. But he kept his eyes on me and, for a short moment, I saw anger in them. Anger that almost paralyzed me.

Daisuke led Riku and me to the foyer and looked down at Riku with a stern expression. "Explain," he said simply.

"I already have a boyfriend," I said. It already felt like a lie.

Riku looked down at the floor, actually looking slightly embarrassed. "Shonta's not really my date. I sort of bribed her to come."

He turned his hard eyes on me. "Oh really? And what was the bribe?"

I found myself doing the same thing as Riku. "An iPod Mini," I responded meekly. "Please don't punish Riku for my selfishness."

He didn't say anything else for a while, just looked down at us like we were two tightly coiled piles of droppings. Then he spoke in a low voice. "We will discuss this no longer but I'm very disappointed in you, Riku. This is the third time you have done this. Good friends can't be bought."

"Yes, sir," Riku said.

I decided to speak up in Riku's defense. "Sir, I took the bribe but it wasn't the only reason that I came to the party. I didn't want Riku to be alone at the party. I was already his friend."

Daisuke seemed to consider this for a minute. Then he smiled warmly. "I see that now. Thank you for keeping my son company." He went back to his guests while Riku and I stayed in the foyer.

For a while we avoided each other's gaze. "I thought you did it for the iPod," Riku said softly.

"I guess I lied," I told him. I felt his hand on my shoulder but didn't look at him. Instead I looked up at the chandelier.

"He doesn't deserve you." His hand moved to my back and stroked it. I felt an involuntary shiver go up my spine. His touch was light and gentle but unfamiliar. It didn't feel right; I was getting an uncomfortable feeling from it.

I stepped away from him, not wanting to feel what I was feeling right then. My eyes wandered to the floor. "I'm glad that you were there for me when Ryan dumped me but you know where I stand."

The next thing I knew, his voice was being heard dangerously close to my ear. "And you must know where I stand. I would fight for you."

I made the mistake of looking at him at that moment. His beautiful eyes were shining with confidence. This was a guy that knew what he wanted. I was now unsure of what I wanted. Part of me was wanting to leave right then and apologize to Ryan for even thinking about letting him go. Then again, a voice in the back of my head was telling me that things were never going to be the same. Was this the rational part of my mind?

No. The whole thing wasn't right. I rushed out of the foyer and back to Terri. "What's wrong? You look spooked," Terri said to me. I didn't say anything, just tried not to faint.

The rest of the dinner party was very awkward. Most of the other people stared at me like I was a lunatic. It didn't make matters any better when I refused to make eye contact with Riku or his dad. But there was another thing that I worried about. I smacked Stacey without considering her position in society. She could put my mom out of her job or make sure I never got one.

"Stacey was just one of the top Pokemon coordinators in Hoenn," Riku reassured me as the other guests started to leave. By then he was his casual self again. "She barely has any power here in Johto where contests are rare."

"That's a relief," Terri said.

"What about her parents?" I asked Riku. I couldn't stop worrying.

"Middle income. She owns most of the money."

I could finally breathe again. Stacey's threats were as empty as her head. I could get some sense into Ryan. "I guess she gets all that money from sponsors, like a NASCAR driver."

"That's about right. Plus the big contests actually have money prizes. So are you lovely ladies ready for the grand tour?"

"We sure are," Terri said sweetly. I was about to object when Terri elbowed me. "Especially Shonta." I could only nod in agreement.

"Then let's start with the kitchen. I noticed how you two didn't eat your dinner."

"I was not going to eat that...whatever it was. It tasted like pig brains," Terri complained.

"That's because it was pig brains."

"See? That's the only part of the pig I won't eat!"

Artemis and I giggled as we entered the enormous kitchen. It had a freezer that was the size of a refridgerator and a pantry so big that you could park a car in there. It was a homemaker's ultimate dream. Not to my surprise I found normal cereal and Nilla Wafers in the cabinets. It was no different than the houses I saw on the MTV show Cribs. We snacked in there until we were full.

A question came to mind as I ate. "Where's Apollo, Riku?"

"Oh, he's somewhere. He may not even be in the house; he's been known to sneak off to Neo Valley to visit Twilight."

Daisuke showed himself as we finished. "I had an idea that you wouldn't like the food I served. At least you spiced up the party for me," he said in amusement.

"I turned it into a soap opera," I said grimly.

He chuckled and turned to leave. "By the way, I suggest you stick close to Riku. Things have happened here." He left us.

I slowed my chewing and swallowed hard. "What kinds of things was your father talking about?" I asked Riku.

"This place isn't haunted, is it?" Bubbles asked him as she started to shake.

Riku laughed pleasantly. "The house is only as old as I am. It isn't haunted!"

"Then is it like Poltergeist? Was it built on top of an Indian burial ground?" Artemis inquired.

"No! This is Johto; there are no Indians!" He put his arms up in defense. "My dad's just trying to scare you. The worst case scenario is that you get lost. The hallways are so long it seems like they stretch on forever and every door looks like the one before it."

"Okay, now I would just like to go home," Terri whimpered. She jumped as thunder boomed in the distance. "Then again, never mind."

"We can watch DVD's in the TV room," Riku suggested. "Or we can check out the library."

Artemis's ears pricked. "Library?"

"Yes. We have a small library including books from major Pokemon researchers. There are also journals containing writing and sketches from my great-great-great grandfather."

"Wow," I said simply. "I think I'll look around after all."

Artemis shook as more thunder rumbled. "I think I'll stay with the others. Will you be able to find your way around, Shonta?"

I grinned at her. "Of course. I still have an Aurora Mini Mirror with me just in case something goes wrong. And something is bound to go wrong." I left the room and took a left, walking down the long hallway.

Most of the doors were locked so I bypassed them quickly. I entered the first unlocked room. In the room were various games. Not like Nintendo or Dance Dance Revolution, but a pool table and a dartboard. Some sports equipment was also in there. "I must be in the game room," I whispered to myself.

I started to exit but a voice stopped me. "Having fun?"

I spun around and found that I wasn't alone. Riku was standing near the pool table nonchalantly, wearing his sunglasses and looking the same way he did when he first met me. I felt a little relieved that I didn't have to make eye contact with him. That changed, however, when he started to walk toward me. My feet shuffled in place, unsure on whether to stay or move toward the door. "How did you get here?" I asked him while trying to keep my voice's pitch under control.

He stopped a couple of feet from me. "How do you think I got in here?"

"Not through the door. It was closed and it's still closed."

"That's not how I got in here. You know how I got in here."

Another shiver went up my spine as I remembered that he was the keeper of the Dark Phoenix Key and some awesome psychic powers. "So you teleported in here. Why aren't you with Terri and the others?"

"I thought I could still give you the tour," he said innocently.

I put my hands on my hips and stood my ground. "I'm not buying it, Riku. You can't change my mind about Ryan."

"And you can't change my mind about you." His hand reached up and touched the side of my face. Every muscle in my body was telling me to get out of the room but I stayed anyway. "When I heard what you said to Stacey, something told me that I had to say what I felt before you made the mistake of trying to go back to him."

"What makes you think that that would be a mistake?" I asked him angrily.

The crystal that I was wearing around my neck started to glow. My canines lengthened a little and became small fangs. Why was the crystal reacting now? Was it agreeing to what I felt? Was it sensing a fight?

Riku's hand left my cheek as he noticed the crystal's reaction. "I don't want any trouble. I'm sorry for what I said. It came out wrong." His shoulders slumped. "I guess that I can't compete with your long time friend."

"We've been through a lot and grown closer because of it. Of course you can't compete with him."

"But your bond was so easily broken."

"It was because of Stacey," I growled. "Once Ryan finds out about what she does behind his back, he'll shake her off."

"Are you sure? Stacey does have a way with guys. After all..." He got closer to me until our noses almost touched. My face got hot. "After all, she was with me for quite a while."

"I'll get him back," I whispered a little shakily.

"No, you won't. You're better off with me."

Enough was enough. I shoved him away from me and grabbed the cue ball from the pool table, ready to throw it at his head in case he tried something. "Take me back," I commanded.

He put on a sly smile. "Why? Things were getting interesting."

"You're starting to sound a little...off."

"Aww, don't like the real me?" He put his hand over my right one, the one that was holding the cue ball, and took off his sunglasses with his free hand. "Look in my eyes and tell me you don't like the real me."

I didn't want to look in his eyes but I did anyway. I froze at the intensity of his stare and tightened my hold on the cue ball. But then my hold loosened and then I let go of it altogether. All of a sudden, I didn't feel like fighting anymore. I was tired of all the drama. "Let's just let it go," I heard myself say.

"Okay. I'll get someone to drive us back to the college." He looked curiously at my face and said something I didn't remember then walked with me out of the room.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Terri and the Pokemon were already in the foyer, getting ready to go up to the second floor via the spiral staircase. She looked disappointed that she wouldn't see any more of the mansion but her expression changed when she got a good look at my tired face. "Shonta, are you okay?" she asked me.

"I'm exhausted," I grumbled. "Let's go back so I can sleep." I shook my head to get rid of the fuzziness but it wouldn't go away. I couldn't remember much about what had happened in the other room. What room was it, anyway?

What happened during the ride back to the college was fuzzy too. Everyone talked but it was like a dream. By the time I stepped out of the limo, I had woken up from that dream.

Theresa met me at the door to our dorm room with the phone in her hand. "It's Ryan," she said sadly.

My heart skipped a beat. What did he want? Was he going to apologize for falling for Stacey? I snatched the phone from Theresa and put it up to my ear. "Hello?"

"What the hell were you doing at Riku's house?" Ryan's voice yelled from the other end of the line. "Stacey said you slapped her!"

I was astounded by the position I was in then. Stacey was the victim and I was on the stand. But I got out of my stupor and yelled back, "She was going out with your roommate, you idiot!"

"I know that! I told her that I was going to be busy and she said she needed someone! I suggested that she go out with Ryu!"

I looked down at Artemis who looked just as confused as I was. "She said that he was her party guy and you were her college guy," I half-whimpered.

"And you took that seriously?"

"Of course I did. She's not good for you, Ryan. She's going to break your heart."

"Like you did? I don't think so."

Click.

I kept the phone to my ear, feeling the tears come back stronger than ever. Theresa and Artemis looked at each other as I curled up in my bed and started to cry. I was sick of crying, sick of being in love. Love hurt like a bullet to the heart.

I pulled out my Aurora Mini Mirror as I was lying on it and noticed that the eyes on the Dragonair were glowing. I had a caller. I went out into the empty hallway and opened it. Char's face appeared in the mirror. "Shonta, I have an assignment for you and Ryan," he told me. "I tried to get to Ryan but he won't answer his. Would you..."

"Forget about him," I spat out, insulted that he try to ask me to ask Ryan anything. "I can do it myself."

I could tell that he was taken by surprise by what I said. "I guess. Report to Master Magma in the Neo Valley tomorrow morning."

"Okay." I closed my the Mini Mirror and my eyes as the tears came back. I had enough of Ryan. I didn't want to have anything to do with him.

darktyranitar
20th July 2006, 09:10 AM
Uh-oh... I didn't really see this coming. I thought that Ryan would at least a bit upset that Stacey is playing with him, but he's taking this surprisingly well. Why does he hate Shonta so much?

Hm, there's something with the part where Riku stared into Shonta's eyes. Dunno if it's only me, but it seems that there was a jump in that part. After Shonta said to let it go... then Riku just offer the ride home. Sorry if I see it in a confusing way...

Wow, the chapter is coming up quite fast! Keep up the good work, Shonta!

mr_pikachu
20th July 2006, 12:52 PM
Huh.

Well, that was interesting. First the expected parts: the shocked guests, the revelation of the bribe, and the sheepishness. Then everything turned freaky... Riku suddenly showed his stake in the matter, and Ryan was, well, Ryan. Weird. This is getting unusual. Maybe it's just me, but I'm not sure if Riku was Riku throughout the party, if you know what I mean. Either that, or he really is "fighting for you," in a manner I wouldn't have expected. Hmm...

Great emotions in this chapter. You've been doing a really good job of conveying the twisted feelings in the confusing world of love. Furthermore, you've still retained some of your comedy, even with all the drama. Everyone loves Nilla Wafers! ^_^ The description was minimal, but it was enough to let us fill in the gaps for ourselves, so nicely done. And again, way to show how everything is a whirlwind of confusion for Shonta.

It did seem like a lot of material was skipped in the transition from Shonta's last encounter with Riku to her phone call with Shonta. Maybe that was intentional, but a more complete explanation would have helped (even if it was as brief as a single sentence). I was also confused about how Terri immediately knew that her tour was going to end. If it was something like woman's intuition, then maybe that could have been alluded to, at least. That would have helped.

But aside from that, good job. You're showing a lot of emotions, and you've found a good balance of description that gives your readers just enough information. And way to further the craziness; I'm intrigued by Riku's new role in this... love pentagon? Gaah! Insanity! Anyway, I'm definitely looking forward to your next chapter. See you then! :wave:


P.S. Wow, way to have the chapter done so quickly! It's a nice turnaround, although you shouldn't feel obligated to keep up that quick of a pace all the time. But it's nice when you can. ;)

classy_cat18
26th July 2006, 04:36 PM
mr_pikachu: I'm not good at describing things, especially places. It's like the picture is fuzzy in my mind. But it seems like I have no trouble with character interaction. Maybe I could be a scriptwriter when I get a career in a game company.

Now let's switch to Ryan's POV! This'll be interesting! I wanted to post this chapter on my birthday to surprise you guys but I guess two days later is just as good.

Remember

I hated her. I hated the way she broke my heart and tried to ruin my happiness. Why couldn't she see that I had chosen Stacey over her? Stacey was a little mean but she treated me like a boyfriend. Shonta didn't even want me until she saw me with Stacey!

My head was pounding from all of the confusion. Maybe there was a little part of me that felt guilty for yelling at Shonta. But I pushed that away and went back to feeling my rage.

"You did what you had to do," Stacey reminded me. "She hurt me, remember?"

"Yeah," I mumbled, my mind somewhere else.

Stacey gave me a little peck on the cheek and went back to her own dorm room. I looked over at Ryu who shook his head and went back to his studying. "What's wrong with you?" I asked him in an irritated tone.

"You need help," was all he said.

I didn't want to listen to him. I was following my heart. So why didn't it feel right? "I'm going for a walk," I told Ryu. A walk would clear my head.

As soon as I was out in the night air and away from everyone, Ripper's pokeball shook and opened. The Scizor materialized and gave me a deadly glare. "What the hell are you doing?" he demanded. "That chick you're hanging around has you wrapped around her pinky!"

"I don't care," I told truthfully. "It was the same with Shonta. She toyed with my emotions by saying she loved me when she clearly didn't."

"She's crazy about you, you idiot. You just have your head too far up your butt to notice it."

"I hate her."

He narrowed his eyes at me. "Let me see your crystal."

I took a step back from him and grasped the Kai Flame Crystal hidden under my shirt. "Why?"

"Because your crystal must be as messed up as your head. Now let me see it."

I slowly pulled out my crystal and showed it to Ripper, wondering if something was wrong with it. Ripper smirked. "I knew it. No black aura. You don't hate her. If you hated her, the crystal would've been tainted," he told me. "Negative emotions can do that to the crystal."

I clenched my fists, not believing what he was saying. "Of course I hate her. She..."

"No need to repeat yourself. You were going to say that she broke your heart. You might have all of these emotions in your brain, giving you a headache, but one emotion is certain. You still love her."

"I do not!" I yelled out, holding my head as it pounded. Someone who was walking by stopped and was going to check on me but Ripper waved his claw and he went back to walking.

"I might be a former Umbra Demon but I know when someone's in denial about love. You're just going with Stacey because you think she might be a good replacement. But she's just messing with your emotions worse than Shonta did. Now you don't know which way is up."

"Shut up," I growled, feeling the crystal come to life.

"Or what? Are you going to roast me? I'd like to see you..." He stopped in mid-sentence and just stared at me with wide eyes. Actually, he was looking over my shoulder. He stood silent for a minute, working his jaw but not saying anything. "Ryan...behind you..." he finally whispered.

I froze in place. There weren't a lot of things that would make Ripper look like that. Then I slowly turned around.

"BOO!"

"Ahh!" I stumbled back, tripped on a rock and fell on my butt. What I saw before me was beyond unexpected. Pink fur. Blue eyes. A long tail. This was something that I only saw in books and my wildest dreams.

This was Mew.

"What is he...or she...doing in the outskirts of a college campus?" Ripper asked me frantically. "There are humans here!"

I didn't know. My head was pounding before but now it was spinning. I had to stay on the ground so I wouldn't fall again. Mew floated around me and quickly hid behind my back as another guy walked past us. "We have to get him or her somewhere before someone sees him or her!" I told Ripper.

"I'm a girl," Mew said quietly.

"Hard to tell," Ripper muttered sarcastically. "No one should be at the Pokemon Center at this hour. Joi shouldn't mind us keeping a legendary Pokemon there."

I rubbed my head. We were looking at no ordinary legendary Pokemon. This was Mew, probably the original legendary Pokemon. What was she doing here with me? "Okay, we're going to the Pokemon Center," I told the little catlike Pokemon. She nodded and then disappeared before my eyes.

I blinked twice and looked at Ripper. "She's gone," I said in awe.

"No, I think she just teleported to the Pokemon Center. At least it's easier than trying to hide her under your shirt or something." He avoided my glare and followed me to the Ecruteak College Pokemon Center.

We walked through the front door into an empty lobby. One of the Aurora Knight rookies, Sentret, was sitting on the couch and smiling at us. "Hey guys! Did you come to talk to Joi too?" she asked us eagerly.

"Sentret, you wouldn't have happened to see Mew teleport in here, did you?" I asked a little nervously.

Sentret's eyes went wide as her ears shot straight up. "Mew? Where? Is she here?"

"Sentret! Who else is here?"

She covered her ears. "No need to shout! Anyway, Terri came through here wanting to talk to Joi about Shonta. Static and Reaper were with her. If I were you I would stay away from them. Hell hath no fury like the Pokemon of a woman scorned."

I groaned. "Maybe I should go back to my room and forget about Mew."

Joi chose this time to burst into the lobby with Terri and the Pokemon. Her head jerked in my direction. "Ryan, what are you doing with Mew? She just popped into my office like she was here for a casual visit and said that she wanted to talk with you!"

"I don't know!" I yelled.

Sentret jumped up and down in excitement. "Finally, I get to see Mew! The Mew! I want her autograph!" she squealed.

Joi wiped her forehead. "Actually, she just wants to see Ryan."

"That's not fair."

"How come no one was this excited about Raikou?" Ripper asked no one in particular.

I cautiously walked into the rear area of the Center and peered into Joi's office. There was Mew, hovering around the room and looking at everything like a curious child. I took a deep breath and entered the room. She glanced at me and landed softly in Joi's comfortable office chair. "Ryan. It's nice to see you again after all these years," she said casually.

"All these years?" I leaned against the wall as there was nowhere else to sit.

She nodded and smiled. "You may not remember me but I definitely remember you and Shonta."

I held my head as it started to pound again. "How do you know us?"

She floated up into the air again. "You may need to sit down for this." I sat down in the office chair and tensed up as Mew landed in my lap. "You seem upset. Terri told me about you and Shonta."

"It's over between us."

"But you still love her."

"No, I don't!" I held my head tighter as it pounded faster.

"You're just saying that because you think that she doesn't love you anymore."

"Of course she doesn't love me anymore."

"That's not true. I looked into her heart and saw the truth. She loves you and hates herself for breaking your heart."

I cocked an eyebrow. "You read our thoughts?"

"Yes, but don't worry. I mostly read your emotions." She gave a little yawn. "I'm betting that your head is killing you. That's because your crystal is amplifying and feeding off of your emotions. The good news is that it makes you stronger. The bad news is that it will eventually become tainted."

"You know about the Aurora Crystals?"

Mew giggled and flicked her tail. "I've known about them ever since...I'd say since the burning of the first Tin Tower. I'm relatively young, you know."

"No, I don't know." I held back a cry of pain as my head went back to pounding, now harder than ever. "I need an aspirin."

"No need for one." She floated up to eye level and gently touched my forehead. Her body was then surrounded by a blue aura. "Calm Mind."

A huge sigh of relief escaped my lips as the headache vanished. My thinking was a lot clearer and my crystal, which was slightly dull before, was now shining brightly. "Thanks. But I thought Pokemon could only use Calm Mind on themselves."

"Then you don't me very well."

"Of course I don't. You're a legendary, for Pete's sake. You still haven't answered my first question." I crossed my arms. "I want an answer."

Her eyes became sad as she landed again, this time on Joi's desk. "There's a reason why I'm so reluctant to answer your question. I'm doing it to protect your friendship with Shonta."

"Did something bad happen between us?"

She nodded. "Yes. Something happened to Shonta that may happen again if she stays on the path she's been walking down. It was so terrible that I had those memories locked away, both in your mind and in hers."

For a moment I took my eyes off of her eyes and watched her tail swish from side to side. She definitely wasn't like Raikou; she was easier to talk to. "I want to know," I finally said.

Mew sighed and floated back to my face. "I was afraid you might say that." She took my head in her paws and surrounded herself in the same blue aura. "Reverse Amnesia." I saw a bright flash, and then darkness.

Nine years ago, Sunflower Town

"Come on, Shonta!" I said as we ran to Professor Cedar's lab.

Shonta finally caught up to me as we approached the gates, panting heavily. "No fair! You're always faster than me!"

"About time you found that out," I joked. She punched me in the arm and started walking up the driveway with me. Today was the day that three of our classmates would be receiving their first Pokemon. Shonta and I couldn't get ours yet because our moms were so protective.

"I'm so jealous," Shonta said as she looked around at the Pokemon that called Professor Cedar's lab their home. A swarm of Scyther hung around the tree looked back but didn't do anything. "The professor said that he was giving out three different Pokemon today."

"I can't wait until I get mine," I said. "It's going to be a Fire type just like my dad's."

"Do you want a certain Pokemon?"

"Yeah! Charmander!"

We both shared a laugh and then knocked on the front door of the lab. It swung open, revealing a smiling middle-aged man. "Good morning, you two. You're just in time. The three trainers-to-be are already here and they're about to select their first Pokemon."

We walked in and noticed Professor Cedar's son sitting in the living room, holding a Nintendo -controller in his hands. The sixteen-year-old prodigy never missed an off day. He waved to us as we walked past him. "Here to help the new trainers?" he asked us.

"I thought that was your job," Shonta said to him. "After all, you're going to be the next Professor Cedar when you graduate."

"I didn't want to take the fun from you." He unpaused the game and went back to playing.

"So what do you have for the trainers?" Shonta asked the older Professor Cedar, staring up at his face with anticipation.

"We have a grass type, water type, and fire type for them. But they're not what you expect."

"This is so exciting!" she exclaimed, bouncing up and down.

We entered a room that was filled with machines of all kinds, including a pokeball transporter and scanner. The three trainers stood in the room and looked at the door when we walked in there. The only girl trainer, none other than my friend Sarah, hugged me as I approached her. "I'm so excited, Ryan! When I get my Pokemon I'm going to train it to be the best it can be!" she said loudly.

Tony, who was looking at the pokeballs on the shelves, glared at us. "If it isn't the little babies. What's the matter? Your mommies won't let you go off by yourselves?" he sneered.

"I bet your mom can't wait to see you go," Shonta shot back.

"Do you want to take this outside?"

"Kids, please!" Professor Cedar yelled out. He stood between Tony and Shonta. "Fighting never solved anything."

"No, but it'll shut her mouth," Tony said while looking at Shonta.

"Don't talk to her that way!" I shouted at him.

"KIDS!" Professor Cedar yelled as loud as I have ever heard him. Shonta and Tony shrunk back from him. "Can we get on with this?"

"Yes, sir," Shonta, Tony and I said at the same time.

Professor Cedar walked to a circular machine holding three different kinds of pokeballs. I took a closer look and saw that there was a Fast Ball in the center of the machine. "What's in the Fast Ball?" I asked Professor Cedar.

"A Pokemon that is waiting on an experienced trainer," he answered.

"Cool! I want that one!" Tony said, his hand reaching toward the Fast Ball.

Professor Cedar gasped and pulled Tony's hand away from it. "That Pokemon is not for you! Do you understand me?" Tony gulped and wiggled his hand out of the man's grasp. "Now, the regular pokeball holds a Water type, the Friend Ball holds a Fire type, and the Level Ball holds a Grass type. You pick first, Sarah."

Sarah immediately grabbed the Lure Ball and opened it. A Pokemon that looked a little like a Marill appeared in a flash of light on the floor. "Which Pokemon is this?" Sarah asked, looking curiously at the little Pokemon.

"I found him in a region called Hoenn. It's an Azurill and, although I said he's a Water type, he's actually a Normal type. He knows Bubble and will learn Water Gun as well. Soon he will evolve into a Marill," Professor Cedar explained.

Sarah squealed in delight and hugged the little Azurill, who laughed and hugged his new trainer with his tail. "Thank you so much!" Sarah said to the professor.

Next went a nervous boy that I kind of remembered from another class. His hand first went to the Friend Ball. Then he saw Tony's angry look and took the Level Ball and opened it. Another unfamiliar Pokemon jumped out and smiled at him. It looked like an acorn with eyes and feet. "This is Seedot, another Pokemon from Hoenn," Professor Cedar told the boy. "Don't worry, he's very friendly."

"Thanks, Professor," the boy said shyly.

"I taught him a new attack called Bullet Seed. Now it's your turn, Tony."

Tony wasted no time in snatching the Friend Ball from the machine and opening it. This time a little bird Pokemon blinked up at us. "Torchic?" it chirped in confusion.

"Torchic?" I repeated.

"What's with this thing?" Tony demanded, sticking his finger in the Pokemon's face. "It looks like it can't do a thing!" The Pokemon cocked its head and blinked at the angry trainer.

"Don't underestimate Torchic. She can be very powerful with patience and training," Professor Cedar said as calmly as he could.

Tony yelled out in frustration even louder than before. "It's a girl too? Oh man, this thing is useless!" He glared at the Torchic and showed one of his fists. "Beat it, birdy, or you'll be beaten down!"

Tears welled up in the Torchic's eyes as she looked up at Tony's angry face. Finally she turned tail and ran out of the pokeball room. "I told you that thing was useless," he said to us.

Shonta was shaking with anger as she grabbed Tony's shirt collar and shook him. "You jerk! Why did you have to do that to poor Torchic? Do you know how lucky you are to get such a rare Pokemon?" she practically screamed at him.

The next thing that Shonta saw was Tony's fist connecting with her nose. She stumbled back and held her nose as tears welled up in her eyes. It took her a while to actually start crying. "You're such a jerk," she sobbed.

"Tony! Leave the lab right now!" the professor roared.

"Fine! You suck anyway!" He stormed out of the room, dropping the Friend Ball as he left.

I picked up the ball and checked on Shonta. She was still sniffling and holding her nose. I was relieved it wasn't bleeding. "Are you going to be okay?" I asked her.

She nodded. "I hate him. Why did he have to treat that poor Torchic like that?"

"Because he's a jerk, just like you said." I turned to the professor. "Do you think Torchic will be alright?" I asked him.

"Yeah. She probably just ran outside to be with the other Pokemon. Why don't we all go outside to give ourselves some fresh air?" he offered.

We walked outside together, Sarah and the unknown boy holding their Pokemon. The young Cedar waved to us, taking a break from feeding a few of the Pokemon. "Hey, Tony isn't with you," he observed.

"He yelled at his Torchic and Professor Cedar told him to get out," Sarah told him.

"I knew that boy wasn't ready to get his first Pokemon. But the mother asked me to give him a chance. Tony isn't a very responsible boy," Professor Cedar told his son. "Did you find Torchic?"

Torchic peeked out from behind the young Cedar's leg. "Tor?" she asked shakily.

Shonta squatted in front of her and smiled. "Don't worry. He's gone," she assured the scared Pokemon. Torchic happily jumped in her arms. "That jerk won't hurt you anymore."

"Shonta, you should keep Torchic," Young Cedar told her.

Shonta gave him her biggest smile and then frowned. "I can't. Mom definitely wouldn't let Torchic anywhere near the house even if she was in a pokeball."

"I'm sure I can talk to her and..."

"No. Torchic needs a trainer that can keep an eye on her." Tears came back to her eyes as she put Torchic down. "I'm sorry, Torchic."

"Chic," Torchic said sadly.

Young Cedar finished feeding the Pokemon and walked back into the lab. Shonta and I talked with the other two kids. The boy, named Tommy, told us that he heard that Seedot would evolve into a Grass/Dark type. That piece of information was a little hard to swallow.

"We should have our first Pokemon battle!" Sarah told Tommy.

Torchic started hopping up and down to get our attention. "I think she wants to battle with us," Tommy guessed.

Shonta opened her mouth to say something but closed it at the sound of someone screaming. "Isn't that Cedar?" she asked. That was what she called the young Cedar.

Cedar ran out of the lab, screaming like someone was out to kill him. He sprinted past us and straight to Professor Cedar. "Dad, I went back in the pokeball room and found Tony in there with the Fast Ball! He opened it!" Cedar yelled.

"He what?" I asked, already shaking. The way that Professor Cedar snapped at Tony earlier told me that something bad was in that Fast Ball.

"We have to get the kids out of here!" Professor Cedar said.

Too late. An Alakazam teleported in front of us and scared the heck out of us kids. The adults just stepped back and shook. The Alakazam smiled at this and stepped closer to us. <I feel like I'm unwelcome here. Am I right?> he asked us calmly.

"How is he talking? I can hear him inside my head!" Tommy whimpered.

<Are you scared, little one?> The Alakazam chuckled. <I like that.>

"He's using telepathy, I think," Shonta whispered.

"Go back in your pokeball," Professor Cedar growled to the Alakazam.

<Who's going to make me? Besides, the pokeball is destroyed and I don't think that no one in this pathetic town is going to put me in one again. As for you...> He leaned in close to Professor Cedar. <I think you need to be punished.>

Before the man could say "huh?", the Alakazam had him hovering three feet off the ground. Tommy screamed and hid behind Cedar with his Seedot. Sarah held me tightly and Shonta just stared up at Professor in fear while holding Torchic. "Is he going to..." Shonta started to ask.

The Alakazam chuckled again. <Yes.> He twisted his spoons and squeezed them tightly. Professor Cedar started to gasp for air. <That's it. Die slowly, old man.>

"Stop it..." Shonta whimpered. "Please stop it."

"I'm not going to stand by while you hurt my father!" Cedar cried out. He pulled a pokeball out of his pocket and threw it. "Houndoom, go!" The devilish dog materialized and narrowed his eyes at the Alakazam. "Take it down with Faint Attack!"

I thought that it was over. The psychic Pokemon couldn't possibly know how to stop Houndoom and keep Professor Cedar airborne at the same time. But then Alakazam pointed one of his spoons at Houndoom and stopped him in his tracks.

"How could he do that?" Sarah asked while still clinging to me. "Psychic attacks can't affect a Dark type!"

Alakazam threw his head back and laughed. <I have something that makes me so strong no one can touch me!> We all stared at him as a dark purple jewel the size of a ping-pong ball appeared on his forehead. <I call it the Third Eye. Normally my psychic powers can't compete with a Dark type Pokemon. But the Third Eye adds a special energy to my attacks that overrides the Dark type's immunity.>

"That means he can easily win against Dark types," I muttered. I looked back at Shonta who was still holding Torchic and looking up at Professor Cedar. "We have to do something."

"Stop it. Stop it," Shonta kept repeating.

Alakazam finally dropped Professor Cedar and threw Houndoom aside. The humans rushed to the professor's side. "Is he okay?" I asked Cedar as I nudged the professor.

Cedar checked his pulse. There wasn't any. "He's dead," he managed to say.

Tommy burst out into tears. "He can't be dead! He was alive just a minute ago!" He shook the professor's body as hard as he could but there was no response.

I looked back at Alakazam who was watching all of this with a satisfied grin. "Why are you doing this to us?" I asked him angrily.

<Because I can,> he replied. <And because he was keeping me from something.> He teleported again, this time behind Shonta and Torchic. Shonta didn't even notice; she was too busy staring at the professor's body.

"Behind you!" I cried out to her.

Shonta turned around to face Alakazam but couldn't do anything to stop him from lifting her into the air. Torchic stayed in her arms even though it was terrified at this point. <I can feel the grief and rage within you. But what else is there?> His hand went to her chest.

"Don't touch her!" I yelled. I charged for him but crashed into a barrier that surrounded Alakazam and his captors. I banged on it, yelling at him and hoping that he would drop my friend and turn his attention to me.

<I feel it. A great power that I have been searching for for years!>

"Don't touch me!" Shonta yelled as she kicked her legs in the air.

"TORR!" Torchic screamed. She opened her mouth for an attack but nothing came out.

<Stop your screaming. It's giving me a headache.> The jewel on his forehead glowed with a power I could actually feel.

Then something unexpected happened. A light came from inside the barrier, a yellow light that swallowed Shonta, Torchic and Alakazam. It was so bright that I had to shield my eyes from it. I heard a scream of pain from both Alakazam and Shonta.

When the light disappeared, Alakazam was on his knees and Shonta was standing in front of him with her back to me. Torchic looked up at Shonta and went running to me. "What's wrong?" I asked Torchic.

"Torchic Torrr..." she whimpered as she glanced at Shonta.

I got up and slowly walked to Shonta. "What happened?" I asked her as I touched her shoulder.

Shonta whirled around and glared at me. Her face really scared me. Her eyes were glowing yellow and she had small fangs in her mouth. She bared those fangs at me. "Don't interfere," she growled at me with a deeper voice than she usually has. "It is between me and this demon."

I stepped back in fear of what Shonta might do to me. Then I noticed that her chest was glowing yellow. I didn't want to mention that. "Demon? What do you mean?"

Alakazam shivered under Shonta's piercing gaze. <She has awakened. The key has awakened! The power will be mine!> he shouted triumphantly.

"Wrong, demon," Shonta told Alakazam. "This power was not meant to be used yet. I will rid myself of you and then go back into slumber until it is time to awaken."

<Then I shall wait until then. But for now...> He struck Shonta with a glowing spoon and teleported again, out of our sights and hopefully out our lives.

Shonta held her stomach and bent over like she was going to hurl. But she didn't. "That demon...corrupted me..." she grunted.

I didn't like the sound of that. I wanted so badly to go over to Shonta and help her home. But the way she was growling reminded me of a Persian or worse. She might scratch me if I got any closer. "Maybe you should lie down," I suggested.

"NO!" she screamed, clutching her head. The yellow glow on (or in) her chest turned grayish as she fell to the ground on all fours. She panted heavily as her nails grew and became claws. A catlike tail popped out of her behind.

"What's happening to her?" Cedar asked me as he got closer.

"I don't know, but it happened after Alakazam hit Shonta with her spoon," I said, unable to take my eyes off of Shonta. I had to do something. My feet seemed to move by themselves. They took me to Shonta who was now standing up and glaring at me, her eyes looking like a cat's eyes. "Come back."

She hissed and swiped a hand at me, leaving a small scratch on my cheek. That didn't scare me as much as it should've. I quickly reached out and wrapped my arms around her, pinning her arms to her sides. "This won't stop me," she sneered, struggling to get free.

I didn't say anything, just held her close to me. "You're my friend, not some monster. Come back." Tears threatened to spill as I heard her growl.

It took her a while for her to stop struggling. I looked down and saw that her tail was being sucked back up into her back. The growling became moaning and the claws turned back into nails. Finally her body got limp as she started to whimper. "Ryan?" I heard her say nervously. "What happened? Where's Alakazam?"

"He's gone. Just relax."

"I can't remember anything after he grabbed me."

"Don't try to remember."

Sarah ran up to me. "Shonta! Ryan! There's something floating down to us!"

We looked up and gasped. The sky was filled with pink bubbles! One of them landed on Tommy and popped. Tommy gave a yawn and looked okay for a few seconds. Then he took a step and fell flat on his face.

"Did he fall asleep?" Sarah asked in disbelief.

"I think he did," I said. Right then a bubble popped on my head, sprinkling dust on me and Shonta. Another popped on Sarah. We all yawned and lay down on the grass. That's where we slept.

I slowly opened my eyes to find out that I was in another room of the Pokemon Center. Mew was nowhere to be seen but Terri was sitting next to my bed. "How did you sleep?" she asked me as I sat up.

I checked my watch. Nine in the morning. "I guess pretty well. Where's Mew?"

"Long gone. Listen, you have some apologizing to do."

"I know. I never knew that my friendship with Shonta was so important. Mew unlocked my memories and revealed that the Light Dragon Key was first unlocked when we were ten. I don't know about terrible but it was pretty scary seeing her like that." I opened up the Mini Mirror that I carried with me and told it to reveal Shonta. I got Artemis instead. "Artemis? Where's Shonta?"

"She's gone! I don't know how but she sneaked out of the room early this morning without my noticing! I must've thought she was just going to use the bathroom!" she said in a panic. "Ryan, she went to Neo Valley to take an assignment and that was four hours ago!"

"Thanks, Artemis. And sorry about the trouble I've been causing." I closed the mirror and opened it again, this time calling Char. "Char, where's Shonta?"

"She's at the Grand Neo Grassland right now! There's some freaky crap going on here! A fire was burning and she went in to look for survivors! Then she came out and started to attack me! What the hell's going on?"

I froze, speechless for a whole minute. I knew what was going on over there but didn't want to believe it. "The same thing that happened nine years ago," I said to him.

mr_pikachu
27th July 2006, 02:16 PM
And the relationship shifts once more. Funny how one memory can change everything, huh?

I like how you handled the change this chapter. You've done a good job of shaking things up and steadily increasing the pressure. So this chapter served as a nice shock of sorts. Maybe it was a little too sudden - perhaps I'm just not grasping the full meaning of what was unlocked - but it still worked pretty well, methinks. I can understand why something like that would be locked away. But were Shonta and Ryan the only ones to forget, or did everyone there lose their memories? Either way, I'm intrigued.

Your description, though minimal, seemed appropriate for this chapter. After all, we didn't need much description of the setting here. The campus and the Pokemon Center are familiar places, and Cedar's lab is also fairly memorable. Besides, I have a feeling Ryan probably wasn't looking at the landscape at any point during this chapter. That'd be rather hard to consider with... everything else. ^_^

However, I would've liked it if Ryan's relationship with Stacey had been explained a little more in-depth, or if his state of mind was just clarified a little more. It just seemed like something was missing, as if the whole affair was a bit sketchy. Also, there were a couple of logical errors: one involved tenses, and another showed a Lure Ball that appeared out of nowhere. But otherwise, this was pretty darn good.

I really liked this chapter, honestly. Maybe that's to be expected since it was a major turning point (I think), but it seemed pretty powerful. Nice cliffhanger at the end, too. Obviously, we know what Ryan's next move is. (Well, I think we do...) But how will everything work out? Will Shonta have any faith left? Will she be the confused one now, with Riku making a stand of his own? And what's with that huge fire and berserk Shonta? Things could get very intense, very quickly. I'll be anxiously awaiting your next chapter! Until then! :wave:

darktyranitar
2nd August 2006, 02:54 PM
Things just keep getting more intense. Like mr_pikachu said, it's a shocking turning point. Something big is coming!

Ah, so Mew is involved too. Still, it makes me wonder why she's so concerned in Shonta and Ryan. Must have something to do with the light dragon key.

So now Ryan is back on his sense... but Shonta has now gone mad. I don't think Shonta will be easily calmed down by a simple apology. So, yeah, the next chapter is going to be interesting to read!

classy_cat18
20th August 2006, 11:46 PM
It's still Ryan's POV! Please be gentle when reviewing this chapter.

Darkest Before Dawn

"Ryan, it's too dangerous to go there alone!" Static yelled at me as I stood before the Aurora Mirror in Joi's office. I had already convinced Artemis that she didn't need to come.

"I have to try. That unlocked memory told me that I'm the best chance of bringing her back," I told him.

Terri stepped in with Aqua and stood next to me. "I'm going with you whether you like it or not. Lady Starlet's orders. I'm to help put out the fire. You might want to take this." She handed me an umbrella.

"Fine. I'm going to get Shonta. Static, go tell Riku about the situation." I grasped Cinder's pokeball and let him out. "We have a job to do."

"I was afraid you were going to say that," Cinder squeaked. We walked through the mirror and into the grassland.

Water types stood in a line outside of the underground cave the mirror was located in. <Everyone scatter! We need these fires down!> Starlet mentally yelled. All the water types present, including Terri, moved out and started spraying water on the fires. <You know the drill. Everyone use Rain Dance!>

I opened the umbrella that I brought with me and put it over my head just as the rain was starting. "At least this will put the fire out faster," I groaned. I looked down at Cinder, my mousy comrade. "Are you ready for this?" I asked him.

He rubbed his face. "As ready as I'll ever be." Together we walked into the charred grassland.

As we stalked the area, I wondered about who could've started the fire. I knew that Shonta didn't know any fire attacks. Neither did any of the other Raitah as far as I knew. Maybe it was Team Rocket. But why didn't we see anyone out here? All we heard was the Raitah's roars in the distance. I didn't know whether to be nervous about the lack of nets and traps or the fact that I hadn't seen any Raitah.

"Ryan? Maybe you should transform so you'll be ready for Shonta," Cinder told me when I stopped to look around.

At that time, my Kai Flame Crystal lit up and fired a narrow beam of light that pointed at a slight angle. "It's like a laser pointer," I commented as I held up a hand to the beam. It pointed to an unknown point in the rising mist. "I guess we go this way."

At this point, every step seemed so loud. I was trying to be somewhat sneaky but that wasn't going to be possible. As the rain stopped I was given a better view of the landscape. And then I saw Shonta in the distance.

She was looking right at me with intense eyes, smirking like she does when she's having a so-so day. She hopped off of what I thought was a rock and sauntered over to me. "Hey Ryan. I see you finally decided to join the party," she said lightheartedly. She looked at the Kai Flame Crystal that shone a small dot in the middle of her forehead. "For a second there, I thought you were going to shoot me with a sniper rifle."

I was surprised at how casual she was. Maybe Char was wrong about her attacking him. She doesn't look like she was going crazy. But then I noticed that she had tucked the Light Dragon Key under her shirt. "Are you okay?" I asked her. "Char told me there was something wrong with you."

"Ryan..." Cinder whimpered as he tugged on my pants sleeve.

"Nothing's wrong with me," Shonta said brightly. "I'm fine like wine."

Something hit me as I was looking at the rock shrouded in mist. "Where's Char?" I asked her, unsure of whether I wanted to hear the answer.

Her eyes suddenly became cold and angry. She grabbed my arm and started to pull me away from the "rock". "You don't want to know, trust me."

I yanked my arm out of her hands and dashed to the rock, which turned out to be an unconcious Char. He had burns all over his body as well as deep scratches and bites. I touched his shoulder with a shaking hand. He was still warm. His tail flame was still burning but it was half its normal size. I turned to Shonta who was looking at me like she was annoyed by the whole thing. "Did you do all this to him?" I asked her angrily.

She narrowed her eyes and sneered at me. "He was being annoying. Shouting all those commands to me like I was his faithful slave. I had to do something to shut him up."

It hit me like a bullet to the heart. Shonta never talked to anyone like that. Sure, she was sometimes tough and maybe just a little callous but never this callous. My anger melted away and turned to sadness. "Shonta, if this about me and Stacey..." I started.

She snickered. "Don't worry, this isn't about that bitch. It's about me finding the beast within. I feel great!"

"What do you mean by that?"

"I came here a pitiful human, full of these weak emotions. Crying over you like a lovesick Meowth. My new boss showed me how they were getting in my way and tossed them to the wayside."

"New boss?" I heard more footsteps and froze. "Shonta, what did you do?"

<The right thing,> came a telepathic voice different from Starlet's. The mist instantly cleared, revealing the mastermind. <Hello again, child.>

"Alakazam," I growled through gritted teeth.

<So you remember me. I'm touched. I suppose you're wondering how I could make the keeper of the Light Dragon Key bend to my will.>

"You bastard. You waited until she was at her most vulnerable and then attacked her!"

<I didn't attack her. She was so weak I didn't have to do a thing. I have you to thank for that.> He bowed to me with a smile.

My eyes darted from him to Shonta who was slowly walking to me. This is my fault. If I hadn't acted like a total ass then she wouldn't have to come here alone. "I'm going to set this right," I said to Char even though he couldn't hear me.

Shonta smirked as I stood up to face her. "What are you going to do?" she asked me.

"Guess." I put my hands over my crystal as it began to pulsate and blink. "Anthro Mode!" I bent over and growled as my canines grew. The skin on my hands got loose and furry as paw gloves formed. Black stripes appeared on my arms and a bushy tail grew out from my backside. I felt my hair grow down to my back. Shonta watched all this with an amusing look. "I'll kick your ass if necessary."

"Fine. This should be fun." She brought out the key, which was tainted with darkness, and changed into her Anthro Mode. Her Raitah tail swished with excitement. "Whenever you're ready, little boy."

<No help from your Cyndaquil,> Alakazam said.

I knew that the thing that Shonta and I shared in common was that we were prepared for both close- and long-range attack. But with her deadlier teeth and claws she was a little more prepared. I looked back at Alakazam who was watching the two of us curiously. <What's the matter? Are you worried about hurting your friend?> he asked me with an evil smile.

"She can take it," I told him.

<Ah, but can you?> He pointed behind me.

I turned around just in time to see Shonta's gloved fist strike me in the mouth. I fell to the ground and looked up at her fearsome form while I checked for lost teeth. "That was a cheap shot," I commented.

She gave me a toothy grin. "All's fair in love and war," she said. I stayed where I was, my eyes wide with fear. This wasn't Shonta. The real Shonta wasn't this sadistic. She growled in frustration and pulled me up roughly by the collar. "It's not fun to kick someone when they're down."

"You won't do that but you would hit someone when their back is turned?" I asked her.

"So I'm a complicated girl. Don't you like that?" She threw me down. "Get up so we can fight."

I slowly got to my feet and prepared to attack. Shonta was in a relaxed pose but had a serious expression on her face. She was waiting for me to make the first move. Intense heat built up inside me as she stared at me. I released the heat in a Flamethrower straight at her. She jumped out of the way and raced for me, her body sparking. I fired another Flamethrower at her but she dodged it by shifting to the left. I put my head down and tackled her before she could get to me. Not a smart move. Her Volt Tackle sent me flying.

Alakazam laughed at me as I struggled to get up. <You must not have had a lot of practice battling,> he mused.

Shonta crossed her arms. "He's a weakling, sir. Should I get rid of him now?" she asked him while looking at me.

I struggled to my feet and gave her a point blank Flamethrower. Her quick reflexes let her see it coming, however, and she shielded her face with her paws. She jumped back and unleashed a Thunderbolt. I jumped to the side and formed a fireball in my hands. "We don't have to fight, Shonta!" I shouted at her as I held the fireball.

She fully unsheathed her claws and took an attack stance. "Yes, we do! You're the only thing standing between me and total freedom! I get rid of you and I'll get rid of these pitiful emotions!"

"Is it really pitiful to feel love?"

"Shut up!" I threw the fireball at her but she just swatted it away with her paw. "I don't love you."

"You lie," I said in a low voice.

"Excuse me?"

"You're denying it because you don't want to feel it."

"You're damn right I don't want to feel it!" She swiped a paw through the air.

I took a step toward her. "But you're still feeling it. You'll love me no matter what you do to me."

"SHUT UP!" She turned to full Raitah, charged for me and pounced on me in no more than ten seconds. "I HATE YOU!"

I winced as her claws bit into my shoulder. Her teeth were inches from my throat. But I wasn't going to give up on her. I turned to normal and stroked the side of her head gently. "Then prove it," I told her softly.

She bared her teeth at me and leaned closer to my throat. "Do you actually think that you're going to win me over like this? You're practically begging me to eat you." She opened her mouth to clamp down on my windpipe.

"NO!" cried Cinder. He blasted a massive Flamethrower at Shonta and burned her side. Shonta roared in pain and got off of me.

"What did Alakazam say about sticking your big nose in this?" Shonta said to Cinder in rage.

"I'm not going to stand by and let you kill Ryan!" the Cyndaquil squeaked at her, his crystal glowing.

"Then it looks like I got myself an appetizer." She let out a roar and went for Cinder who dove in a hole in the ground before she could get to him.

That gave me a chance to transform to full Arcanine and give Shonta a Take Down while her back was turned. She rolled for a bit and then sprang back up to all fours. "Now you're playing dirty. Not bad," she said as she slowly circled me.

I tried again to talk to Shonta. "Alakazam has manipulated your mind into thinking you're not human."

"I'm not! And neither are you! So why don't you admit it?" She stopped circling and went into a Quick Attack. I turned, lowered my head and met her head on. We butted heads but neither of us budged.

"Your body might be Pokemon, but your mind is still human," I said calmly as our heads pushed each other. Shonta growled loudly as her fur stood on end. I howled in pain as ten thousand volts surged through me. I stumbled back but gave her a look of determination. "I'll save you."

"What makes you think I want to be saved?" she snapped.

"I know you could've killed me anytime you wanted. So why am I still alive?"

"Is it wrong to play with your prey?"

"No, but it is foolish." I looked behind her to my backup: Apollo and Riku.

Shonta looked behind her and saw the two of them standing with a recovered Char. Alakazam teleported to beside her. <What are those two doing here?> he demanded.

"I asked for backup before I got here. Did you actually think I would face Shonta and you alone?" I asked him. I turned to Riku and frowned. "He could've been here sooner, though."

"We had other business to take care of," Riku said casually while walking to me. "So you're back, Alakazam. Making another attempt to steal the Light Dragon Key?"

<I decided that it belongs in the hands of the true owner,> Alakazam replied. <It was a bonus that the owner wanted to work for me.>

<You played with Shonta's emotions. That is something we cannot forgive,> Apollo told him. <Riku?>

Riku nodded and put his hands around his Dark Phoenix Key. Alakazam's expression turned from cockiness to fear. <You wouldn't...> he whimpered.

Wouldn't what? I moved out of the way and watched Riku with interest and a little bit of fear.

"Crystal Cage!" Riku commanded. The key glowed a menacing black but the feather on it shone a brilliant white. Clear crystals suddenly burst out from around Alakazam's and Shonta's feet and surrounded them, so close together that they couldn't escape. The two of them stood back-to-back as they closed in.

It dawned on me just then that Riku was planning to encase them in crystal just like the prisoners at Melon Island. I wanted to stop Riku, to say that it wasn't Shonta's fault that she was like that. But then I thought about it. I was the one who caused this but maybe I couldn't make it right yet. Shonta didn't seem to be in the mood to listen. I only stood there as the crystal started to close in around them.

"Ryan, don't let him to this to me! You know it's wrong!" Shonta shouted in rage.

"Sorry," I muttered. Her voice was soon cut off by the sealing crystal.

Riku put a hand on my shoulder as I gazed into Shonta's angry eyes. "You did what you had to do," he told me solemnly.

"I know. It's just that I thought that I could get her to come to her senses by myself."

"Starlet gave me the information on Alakazam. This guy has been in hiding for years. He was on the Most Wanted list of Umbra Demons. That crystal embedded in his forehead is very powerful. It's amazing that I was able to trap him."

"Won't Shonta be able to break them out?"

"I doubt that. The Crystal Cage puts its captors to sleep so that its purifying powers can take effect."

I walked up to the crystal and put a hand on it as if I was trying to comfort Shonta. Her eyes were slowly closing. "I'm really sorry," I said. Her eyes closed as she gave me a smile.

We stood where we were as we heard the grass rustle but saw no one at first. Then Raitah appeared and sat around us. Among them was Lady Imani, the leader of her pride. "Thank you for helping us. I was given orders from Master Magma to protect my pride and lead the matter to you," she informed us. "It seems that he was counting on you to make the right decision, Ryan."

"I hope I did." I eyed one of the Raitah, a male that approached the Crystal Cage and glanced at Shonta. I gave him one last look and headed back to the Aurora Mirror with everyone else.

mr_pikachu
21st August 2006, 12:37 AM
Well, then! It would seem that we have a real role reversal. Shonta's spent the last several weeks desperately trying to win back Ryan, who had lost his way... now, the same thing has happened to her, and Ryan has to play the hero! Someone's playing head games. Is it all about Alakazam, or is there something even bigger?

You did a fairly good job with the setting here, even though the action scenes could have had a little more setting description. It's definitely an improvement, so kudos to you. Yet again, I have to comment on the skill with which you've shown the emotions in this fic. You've given just enough information about the feelings of our heroes to let your readers fill in the gaps, and the intense conflict here gave us the full feeling of the now tense relationship between Shonta and Ryan - not to mention with everyone else around them (like Char). Great job!

Maybe it's a minor point, but I do have a criticism to make that I don't think I've given in awhile. Watch your word choices, especially when you go back through and edit your chapters. Redundancy is a bit of a problem, especially in a chapter with emotions like this one had. Using words multiple times in a short period can be very distracting to your readers. For instance, "It pointed to an unknown point in the rising mist," uses forms of "point" twice in a row. The same goes for "Sure, she was sometimes tough and maybe just a little callous but never this callous." Even if you want to emphasize something, it's often better to use a different word the second (and third, fourth, fifth, etc.) time(s) you refer to it.

But this was still a good chapter. Shonta's really gotten herself into a mess of trouble now. The tainted key will certainly be a problem, and I suspect that the loss of Shonta's skills will hurt the Aurora Knights, as well. We can only wait and see what happens next. Anyway, great job with the settings and emotions in this one. I'm already looking forward to the next chapter! Until then! :wave:

darktyranitar
22nd August 2006, 03:02 PM
Gosh, mr_pikachu is right: It is a real role reversal! Now, looking at a few chapter back then, Ryan turned from a jerk to a hero, and Shonta quickly turned from a victim to the bad guy.

Her key is tainted? Heck, we're thinking that Ryan was the one to be tainted, but now- look!

Good chapter. I'm looking forward to the next chapter as well!

The_Missing_Link
26th August 2006, 01:01 AM
The problem I see is that the issues were resolved too easily. Shonta was immediately turned good again while forgiving Ryan very quickly. I don't mind that the chapter was short as it tends to be your style but I was expecting a little more oomph. You know, sacrifice length for substance

Also, I've sort of forgotten who all the Pokemon (Knights and character's Pokemon) were. You reference them by name but not by species. Could you make a list or something of that nature?

classy_cat18
26th August 2006, 01:08 AM
Hmm...back to WordPad. I think this chapter needs a makeover.

classy_cat18
26th August 2006, 12:59 PM
Sorry for double posting but I edited the latest chapter. Becca, I'll try to find the database I did for the Aurora Knights.

Chapter 32

The weekend. I was supposed to be relaxing but I couldn't relax after what happened yesterday. I just sat in my room and stared into the Aurora Mirror that was glued to the back of my dorm room's door. Around noon, the Aurora Mini Mirror started to blink and caused my crystal to vibrate. I excused myself and left the room to answer it. "Talk to me," I muttered.

Dad appeared in the reflection. "Ryan, they called a meeting at Neo Valley. Come immediately."

I yawned. This was not what I needed. "Why do I need to go?"

"They're going to discuss the situation with Shonta and Alakazam." He left it at that and closed his mirror.

That changed my mind. Shonta had been encased in the Crystal Cage for a whole day and was now at Melon Island. Before I met the dark side of her I was against using it. But now I saw the point. Sometimes it took tough love to make things right. However, I would be there for her when she was freed.

Since my roommate was still in the room, I walked over to the Pokemon Center and used Joi's mirror. Beacon was waiting for me with her tail shining brightly. "So you decided to come. Your dad was starting to have his doubts," she told me as I followed her out of the cave.

"If it's about Shonta, I want to be a part of this," I told her.

None of the rookies were out on the field. Instead were the other human Aurora Knights and some of the higher ranking Knights. Master Magma lifted his head and glanced at me. "Ryan. Come and sit," he instructed me. I took a seat by Terri who was rubbing her crystal absentmindedly and looking tense. Kanna sat on the other side of me with Beacon. Master Magma looked at everyone and started to speak. "I hope you have all been informed about the events that took place yesterday."

"That Alakazam is a menace," Leo grumbled, blinking with blind eyes. "I say we keep him imprisoned indefinitely."

"I agree. No amount of purification will help that evil heart of his," Imani said.

"Wait a second!" I blurted out. "You don't think he deserves a second chance? Maybe he was under the influence of someone else." I didn't know why I was standing in his defense. Maybe it was because they gave Ripper a second chance and he was almost as bad as Alakazam.

Kanna shook her head. "Alakazam was one of the top Umbra Demons. It's almost impossible to see anyone controlling him," she said sadly.

"Now there is more evidence against him," Master Magma continued. "Lately I haven't been able to contact Houdini and Jade. Then one of Jade's students brought the grim news. She's no longer with us." He bowed his head in grief.

"No! Then the trinity isn't complete!" Circe exclaimed.

"Trinity? What trinity?" I asked Kanna.

"The Kai Flame, Aqua and Flora Crystals," she told me. "Combined they could be as powerful as the Light Dragon Key. Of course, it's just a theory."

"And Houdini? What about that traitorous Drowzee?" Imani asked Master Magma.

"Also gone," the Charizard replied.

"So two Kai-ranked members are dead. And you are saying that it was Alakazam's doing?"

Magma nodded. "He left us this." He threw down a piece of paper with a drawing of a Alakazam's hand holding a spoon. "He did this prior to setting fire to the Grand Neo Grassland."

I stood up and stuck a finger in his face. "How do you know this?" I asked him. "Someone could be setting him up!" Once again, I was surprised at my defending this villain.

He leaned in close to me and snorted. Dad came and pulled me away. Magma's eyes followed me back to my seat. "Set up or not, he is guilty for dealing this blow to the Aurora Knights. Which is another reason why we are here. Shonta's imprisonment is going to be a problem with our missions. With no one to purify their crystals we will have to resort to the Crystal Cage."

"But..." I looked at Dad for reassurance but he just looked down at the grass. "How long is Shonta going to be imprisoned?"

"As long as she needs to," Dad replied. "But there is an alternative." He got up and stood in the middle of the ring of Aurora Knights. "If we can find the next holder of the Kai Flora Crystal then we can complete the trinity."

Everyone looked at each other and nodded. But Magma had something to say. "No one has received a news flash since the attack. We must find a new plan."

<I say we have faith in Riku. No one seemed to object to his Crystal Cage until Shonta came along,> Apollo said with a hint of malice in his telepathic voice.

"That's because we didn't have a choice. But I always thought that it was a bit extreme for the lesser Demons," Dad said.

"Maybe there's a way to speed up the purification process," Terri said sadly.

"That is out of the question!" Magma snarled, making everyone shrink back. "If we let her out too early it could be disastrous! The Light Dragon Key can be very dangerous when tainted!"

Terri wasn't going to be talked to like that. "She's my cousin, Magma! I want to help her!" she yelled at him.

"You can help her by letting her stay in that crystal." He settled down and cut his eyes at her. "Any objections?" No one said anything. "Good. Meeting adjourned."

Terri stood up and stormed off toward the cave. I caught up with her and grabbed her shoulder to stop her. "I know how mad you are about this but you have to keep calm about it," I told her.

"Keep calm? People have been asking about Shonta! I can't lie to the school and her mom about her being missing!" she raged.

I looked and saw that Kanna and Riku were walking past us. I motioned for them to come over. "That's why we're going to bust her out today," I whispered.

"Sounds like a good plan," Kanna said with a smile.

"I am starting to miss Shonta's company," Riku agreed.

"Good, because we'll need you to get her out and keep Alakazam in," I said. I looked around and saw that the Pokemon Knights were sticking around. "Let's sneak off to Melon Island while no one's looking."

"Maybe I should come with you," said a voice from above. Mew teleported to right in front of my face, earning another yelp of surprise from me. "I haven't really been involved enough with the Knights. I want to help."

"Why are you so interested in us?" Terri asked her.

"Personal interest," Mew replied with a grin.

We calmly walked past Imani and down the cave to the Aurora Mirror. Kanna stepped forward and held up her crystal. "Take me to the inside of Melon Island," she said quietly.

The surface of the mirror shimmered and revealed the huge statues that inhabited the inside of the dome. Kanna walked through followed by the rest of us. The Dragonite named Icarus met us as we walked down the stairs to the prison cells. "Master Draco says he's sorry that he missed the meeting. Did he miss any important news?" he asked us.

"Two of the Kai crystal owners were supposedly killed by Alakazam," Kanna reported.

"No way! Oh man, we never get in on any of the action around here!"

"There she is," I spoke up as we stopped at the cell containing Shonta. Alakazam was somehow separated and put in another cell. "Icarus, could you let us in?"

"Sure, but why? Shonta is supposed to stay in there for at least another three days." But he still slid up the bars and let us walk through. "I'll be back in thirty minutes to come get you out." He walked towards the underwater exits.

Mew appeared again with a giggle as soon as the coast was clear. "Faint Attack sure is fun!" she said happily. She floated over to Shonta and looked her over. "It's sad that I have to see her like this. Such rage and hatred..."

I saw that Shonta's crystal was already starting to purify. It was still tainted but it had a sort of shine to it. I thought about changing into Arcanine but decided to face Shonta in a nonthreatening way. "Okay, Riku. Let her out," I told him.

"What's the magic word?" he joked.

"Now," I replied.

He shrugged and held his crystal. "Release!" he commanded. Cracks appeared in the crystal that ran throughout the cage. Then the cage shattered, shards bursting out in all directions. Shonta collasped on the ground, still asleep.

I carefully walked to her side and nudged her shoulder. "Shonta. Please wake up."

Shonta slowly opened one eye and looked at me. "Ryan?" she said weakly. I nodded. She stood on wobbly legs. "Where am I?"

"You're on Melon Island," I told her.

She looked around at the rocky walls and the bars with a confused look on her face. Her eyes locked with mine with that same look. She winced and growled while rubbing her head with her paw. "What are you staring at?" she asked me in an irritated tone.

I was going to say something stupid and mushy but I found something better. "My best friend," I said quietly. Okay, maybe that was still mushy.

Shonta seemed to think so too. She snickered at my response. "You're getting lame, Ryan, as well as a lousy liar."

"What do you mean?"

Her expression became hard. "You gave the order to have me put in that crystal. Some friend you are."

I sighed. She still had some of that darkness in her. "Shonta, it was for your own good."

"For my own good? Ha! Thanks to you, I came out of that crystal with my first hangover! I have this headache, I feel like puking, and I swear that you found your long lost twin!" She plopped down on her stomach and rubbed her head again. "I can't think straight because of your stupid decisions."

"Is she still evil or just crabby?" Terri asked me.

"Believe me, if it wasn't for this stupid nausea...and double vision...and dizziness, I would be killing you now," Shonta grumbled.

"Shonta..." I began.

She bared her teeth at me. "What, Ryan? Are you going to say that I'm being heartless? That you're my friends and that you're only trying to help? Go on, say it!"

I kneeled in front of her and looked into her fearsome yellow eyes. "I love you."

Shonta threw her head back and laughed loudly. "Oh man, that's even worse! The guy that dumps me, runs off with some emptyheaded bitch and yells at me over the phone says that he loves me!" She abruptly stopped laughing and winced again. "This damn headache!"

"He's telling you the truth," Riku said seriously.

"This coming from the guy who put me in a crystal prison. Do you know how hard it is to sleep through a dream that has nothing in it and actually be aware of it? It's just plain disturbing!"

I felt tears break through and stream down my eyes as Shonta's harsh words bit into me. "We're sorry," I told her.

"No, you're not! You think you are but you keep doing these things to me!" She lowered her voice and looked right into my eyes. "I will never forgive you."

I reeled back as if a sudden gust of wind knocked me back. Is she really saying this or is it the tainted crystal? Or is it both? "Will you give me another chance?" I asked her.

"What did I just tell you?"

I sighed heavily. "At least come back to school with us. Artemis, Static, Reaper and Feather...they're worried about you."

"And what about your mom?" Riku asked her. "Don't make her worry."

Shonta's angry expression softened slightly. "Mom...Artemis..." She turned her back to us and transformed into her human form. "I'll do it for them. But I owe you squat." She walked past and shoved me aside.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It didn't take long for Draco to find out that Shonta was gone. But by then we were already back at the college. Icarus was cool enough to let us out and even stall Draco. I knew that I was in for something big when Magma found out.

The walk to Shonta's dorm room seemed longer and quieter than necessary. Shonta hadn't said a word to me since we left Melon Island and I felt that I wouldn't hear anything for her for a while. Not anything positive, that is.

"Ryan?" Shonta jerked me out of my thoughts as I walked her to her room. "Why did you pick Stacey over me when I 'dumped' you?"

I stopped and laughed nervously. I knew I would be asked this eventually. "I guess I was at a moment of weakness. Stacey was flirty and pretty so..."

"So you're saying that you only took her for her looks?" she interrupted.

"And appeal. Don't forget appeal." I flashed her a smile. She put her arms on her hips and frowned at me. "I guess I was looking for another you."

"She didn't seem intelligent and thoughtful to me."

"I guess I don't seem that way to you either." She nodded. "I apologize for being an thoughtless idiot."

"Whatever." She went back to walking in front of me. "You didn't have to follow me to my room like a dog on a leash."

I shrugged and smiled at her. "What can I say? I'm a hopeless romantic."

"You're hopeless alright." She went into her room and slammed the door in my face before I could follow her in.

I leaned against the wall next to the door. I tried telling her how I felt. I apologized to her and showed her that I cared about her. What was I doing wrong? I was about to open the door and check on her when the door burst open. Shonta quickly stepped out and closed the door behind her. "Is there something wrong?" I asked her while inspecting her shocked face. It was a deep red.

"There's a naked man on my bed," she said in a high pitched voice.

mr_pikachu
26th August 2006, 08:11 PM
Hmm. Okay... compared with the first version, this is better. Shonta's reaction makes a little more sense - it's not so much of an instant, unrealistic resolution. That's a good start.

But - and I really hate to say this, considering that you made a decided effort to rewrite this chapter - it still has some major issues. Specifically, consider the manner in which you have the characters interact, and even in which you speak as the narrator. It is extremely direct, with nothing but bluntness. This could just as easily be a company meeting's minutes report as a literary piece, and that is not a good thing. There was little description beyond actions themselves (that is, no feelings, settings, etc.), and even the speech of your characters seemed to just be highly truncated versions of what needed to be said - especially during the debate.

Now, you did make some major improvements. The description of the divided cell was better explained, and Shonta's reaction was vastly more logical. But unfortunately, the last scene was not the only problem with this chapter. I honestly had hoped for some work to be done throughout the chapter, not just in one segment. This just didn't seem to be up to your usual standards.

classy_cat18
1st September 2006, 03:54 AM
I hope this one's better!

Knocked Down a Peg

Shonta's POV:

Well, this was a great way to end the day! I still had a headache, Ryan was acting like an idiot, and now I had a nude guy lounging on my bed! This I did not need! "What is he doing on my bed?" I heard myself squeak.

"Maybe he's Theresa's company," Ryan guessed.

I gave him a look that said "Did I ask you?" and peeked in again, hoping against hope that I was dreaming and that guy wasn't really there. He was. Oh God, I could see everything. This time I couldn't tear my eyes away from him. He had to be at least two or three years older than me, possibly even five. His height was obviously over six feet tall, making him taller than Ryan. He was well built, had lightly tanned skin, and untamed black hair that looked like a mane. But what really caught my attention was his face. There were black triangles under his yellow eyes. That's right, yellow eyes.

We gazed at each other, me with a shocked expression and him with a seductive smile. Finally he spoke up in a silky voice. "Like what you see?"

At first I was speechless. I had to admit that he was cute. Okay, more like hot. But then I exploded when he winked at me. "What the hell are you doing in my room?"

He was unaffected by my explosion. "I came to pay you a visit. I missed you so much."

"Missed me?" I cocked an eyebrow. "Do I know you?"

He rose from the bed and gracefully walked over to me, one of his hands balled up into a fist. I watched every step with caution mixed in with a little fear. The door gently closed as the rest of my body entered the room. He stood in front of me and reached for my chest. I stiffened as his fingertips brushed against my skin. "I've been thinking about you for so long," he said quietly as he pulled out the Light Dragon Key. "And now I have found you."

Still confused, my nose twitched as my heightened senses searched for his scent. It was familiar, wild and musky. I finally guessed his identity. "Prowler?"

The wild Raitah-turned-human grinned. "That's me."

Now I was annoyed. When I first met him, he wanted to "play" with me. That hasn't changed. The guy's just as cocky and annoying as before. "I know you used the Aurora Mirror to get here. But you can only use it if you're an Aurora Knight."

"Funny you should mention that." He opened his fist and showed me a Shock Crystal. "It really does make your dreams come true."

I didn't care how he managed to transform using a Shock Crystal. I just wanted him gone. "Either put on some clothes or get out of here. In fact, do both." He opened his mouth to say something but I gave a loud Raitah growl.

Prowler flashed his small fangs at me as he smiled again. "Grr to you too. You may be half-human but you still have that wild side." He leaned in and sniffed at my neck. I flattened myself against the door, wishing that I could just walk though it like a ghost. "Not to mention that scent that drives me crazy."

A knock on the door interrupted Prowler's advances. "Shonta? Are you okay?" Ryan asked me from the hallway.

I was a little surprised that he was still there. Was he actually worried about me? "I'm fine," I replied, trying to keep the shakiness out of my voice. Where was Theresa during all of this? And what about the Pokemon?

Prowler snarled and slammed a hand on the door. "Keep your ugly nose out of this, human!" he shouted. The doorknob turned as Ryan tried to open it. Prowler pushed the door back, keeping his eyes on me. "I don't want us to be disturbed."

"Didn't I tell you to get out of here?" I spat, suddenly reminded of Riku when he decided to be bold at the mansion.

"You can't boss me around," he said with a wicked grin. "I'm your new master."

This guy's got to be delusional. "No one's my master."

"Which is why I decided to fill that position." He lightly scratched the underside of my chin, sending shivers down my spine. "I watched you while you were in the grassland. You must've thought you were acting pretty wild. But there's a line between being wild and being out of control. I'm here to make sure you don't cross that line."

I slapped his hand out of the way. "I was not out of control; I was under Alakazam's orders."

"And when you attacked your fellow human? Were you merely following orders or was there something personal behind it?" He leaned in close so our noses were almost touching. "You've gone to the point that you disobey your superiors' orders. You need someone to teach you some humility."

My hand slowly slid over to the doorknob but Prowler quickly caught it. "You want to be more than my master, do you?" I guessed.

He chuckled and whispered in my ear, "Nothing gets past you." With one smooth, swift motion he lashed out and ripped the Key from around my neck. "You won't be needing this." Instinctively I tried to grab the Key from him but he held it out of my reach. "What use is the Light Dragon Key to a tainted soul? It won't listen to you. The reason that you're human now is because the Key was too weak to keep up your Raitah form."

The news hit me hard but I refused to admit it. "You lie. You don't know anything about the crystals."

"On the contrary, I know everything about them. My kind has been guarding them throughout the centuries. I know all the legends." He gave back the Key. "Go ahead, try to use it."

I stared at the crystal and the bobbing grey light inside of it. My mind was screaming at it to make me transform, purify, do anything. But it didn't do anything. More fear was pouring into my anger, making me shake from both. "It's just low on power, just like you said," I said defiantly.

Prowler smirked and turned his back on me. "You keep on saying that. I bet you're weak yourself. You can barely stand right now."

I looked down at my legs and saw that they were shaking badly. They finally gave out, making me plop down on the hard, cold floor. I could only look up helplessly at Prowler and hope he didn't have anything sinister in mind. "Okay, you have me. What are you going to do to me?"

He licked his lips. "Nothing at the moment. I guess that you have a life at this place so I'll stay with you here. But you no longer answer to that foolish Charizard or his underlings. I'm the only one you'll be taking orders from. And if those Pokemon of yours try anything..." He let it hang there and pulled something from out from under my bed: an unconscious Artemis.

My anger disappeared completely, leaving only fear. He had me under his thumb and there was nothing I could do. "Where are my other Pokemon?" I asked him, my throat feeling dry.

"I didn't see them. Count yourself lucky." He tossed Artemis in my lap. "I think I'll take your advice and slip on something." He squeezed his crystal and was surrounded by a flash of light. Now he was wearing a black T-shirt with black jeans. A collar was around his neck with the crystal dangling in the front.

I stayed where I was, stroking my Umbreon's silky fur and trying not to say anything. It was quiet on the other side of the door. Ryan must've left. Oh well, not like I needed him anyway. I'll get this guy out somehow.

Ryan's POV:

My heart pounded in my chest as I hurried to Terri and Kanna's dorm room. That was the only room in the building in which I could use an Aurora Mirror safely. I pounded on the door urgently while looking around to make sure no one was noticing me. Terri opened the door. "What is wrong with you? You look like you just got done running a marathon!" she exclaimed.

I caught my breath before explaining. "There's someone in Shonta's room. I think he's another Umbra Demon."

Terri gaped and turned a few shades paler. "Again? Oh no, not again! Why aren't you in there backing her up?"

"He blocked the door. I stayed for a minute to try to listen to their conversation. I have no idea who he is but I don't think Shonta can fight him off."

Terri grabbed my arm and yanked me in her room. "Kanna, we have an emergency!"

Kanna looked like she had already heard what was going on. She sprung up and grabbed a pokeball from her bed. "This is bad. There is no way that Shonta can defend herself against anyone at this time," she said in a slightly calm voice. She threw her pokeball and let out her Ampharos, Beacon.

I activated the mirror and looked into Shonta's room. Shonta didn't seem like she was in trouble; she was lounging in her room with Artemis in her lap. But there was a new visitor in the room, a black-haired guy that had to be at least five years older than her. He was sitting on Theresa's bed, staring at Shonta and occasionally licking his lips. I clenched my fists while wondering whether this was the intruder or not.

"Well? Is that the guy?" Terri asked me impatiently.

I kept silent and watched the mysterious guy. He glanced at the mirror and did a double-take. His angry yellow eyes looked directly into mine. I backed up a few steps then, after learning that I had let him scare me, walked through the mirror and motioned for the others to stay on the other side. I stood in front of the stranger with my arms crossed, not letting it show that I was surprised that he was wearing a Shock Crystal on a collar. "What are you doing in here?" I asked him a strong voice.

The stranger seemed to think this was funny. He snickered and then laughed loudly, showing that he had fangs instead of regular canines. "What are you, the guard of this place? This dear girl invited me," he told me.

I looked over at Shonta who actually looked relaxed. Maybe she was just out of it. "Shonta, are you alright?" I asked her.

Shonta seemed to snap out of it. She shook her head and locked eyes with me while wearing an irritated expression. "It's okay, Ryan. Just a misunderstanding. This is Prowler, another Aurora Knight. He's looking for a place to stay."

I eyed Prowler suspiciously, having the feeling that he wasn't human to begin with. I also had the feeling that it wasn't just a misunderstanding. But I went along with it. Shonta would be safe if I could get him away from her. "I think Riku has a private room with an extra bed. He could sleep there," I told Shonta.

"Aww, you're such a sweetheart," Prowler said sarcastically. He got up and went over to Shonta. "I'll be seeing you in the morning, sweetie." He caressed her chin and lightly kissed her forehead.

I managed to hide my anger of Prowler's arrogance and caught something in Shonta's reaction. She seemed to have tensed at Prowler's touch. And there was something in her eyes. Fear? There was something to this that I really didn't like.

Prowler followed me out of the room, giving Shonta one last smile before closing the door. "That girl sure is something," he commented as he walked with me.

"You two look like a good couple," I told him dully.

"Yeah, and I have you to thank." That made me stop in my tracks. "She was getting tired of you so she picked me up. I think I'll do a lot better than you."

I grabbed his shoulder and spun him around to face me. My hatred of him was shown clearly on my face. "Listen, you bastard! I don't know what you're doing to her but I don't like it!"

He looked into my eyes and chuckled. "What are you going to do about it? I have the power to take you down permanently. That little kitten of mine can't do anything either. Not without this." He pulled the Light Dragon Key out of his pants pocket. "So I suggest that you just live with it because she's under my thumb."

I gritted my teeth. I could attack him. I might win. But I don't want to risk anyone's life. He seems like the type that would have others working for him. I'll play it safe...for now.

mr_pikachu
1st September 2006, 04:16 AM
Prowler, huh? Apparently I need to look through some of the earlier chapters, because I don't remember him. What he's doing is a little odd... well, more than a little, actually. It's hard to figure out whether he's an ally of the Knights or of the Demons, or if he's somewhere in between. His threatening nature certainly doesn't make him look like a good guy, but you never know... Very curious.

Even though it was mostly a chapter used solely to advance the plot, you did this well. The re-introduction of Prowler grabbed our attention (obviously), and you did a good job showing his "cocky and annoying" nature, too. Shonta's fear was also fairly evident, especially with the loss of the Light Dragon Key. Even if it seems useless, I have a feeling that its repossession will prove to be a major problem. Interesting turn of events.

I do think this chapter seemed a little more rushed than usual. It would've been nice if you had delved into Shonta's fear a little bit more, and Ryan's mental deliberations may have also been worth a deeper examination. The description of Prowler's human form also seemed a little mechanical, and that made remembering all the details a little difficult.

But overall, this was quite nice, and it was definitely an improvement over the previous chapter. I liked how you showed the clash between Prowler's arrogance and Shonta's twisted mentality - that worked fairly well, especially since we don't know what to expect from the latter character any longer. It's hard to know how a meeting like that will go, and it was good that you threw in the twist of Prowler sort of winning the argument, and even taking the Light Dragon Key. Again, I fully expect that the theft will be a problem and perhaps a major turning point in the series. But for now, I guess all we can do is wait and see. So, until next chapter! :wave:

darktyranitar
6th September 2006, 09:49 AM
Prowler... yeah, I remember him and his attitude... that was some times ago, when I first read this fic. Wow, never knew that he'd come back someday. And like mr_pikachu said, he certainly doesn't look like the good guy, but who knows? I don't think he really has any good intention for keeping Shonta's Light Dragon Key; it must have something to do with "owning" her.

I never saw the original last chapter, so I think I'll just leave it to mr_pikachu.

I need to catch up...

classy_cat18
18th April 2007, 06:59 PM
I know what you're thinking. You've been waiting all these months for a five-page chapter. Wrong! You've been waiting all these months for a five-page half-chapter. And someone's going to complain about the lack of action or something. I'm working on it. Plus no one told me about the big mistake I made of changing Daichi's name to Daisuke. That's going to be next on my to-do list. So here we go!

United We Stand, Part 1

I always thought Riku was the silent type that could shrug off any comment and keep that cool look of his. Then again, I don't think he'd met anyone like Prowler. He wasted no time proving his distaste of the Raitah when he met me in the hallway and shoved me against the wall. "Why did you put that creature in my room?" he practically growled at me as his grip on my shirt tightened.

I would've tried to joke about it but then I remembered that he was a psychic type and he would've found some way of getting back without being accused. Like psychically closing my throat and cutting off my precious air supply for a few seconds. So I chose to be honest without sounding sarcastic. "I had Ryu in my room while you have a private room. Don't tell me he got under your skin."

He didn't answer my question directly. Instead he sort of threw me against the wall and turned his back to me. "I want that S.O.B. dead." His voice was menacing and seemed to vibrate through me. It was probably the shock of him using such a term.

"Let's not go that far," I said a little shakily. The guy was actually scaring me now. "But he is wearing out his welcome. The two of us should be able to kick him out."

"I'm psychic. He's dark. What does that tell you?"

"That we'll need another plan." My shoulders slumped as I heard the humming of a certain jerk come from Riku's room. I lowered my voice so he couldn't hear us. "Is there anyone that can help us? Can't Char take him down?"

Riku took my arm and dragged me down the hall. "Quiet, he could hear us. Neither Char nor Magma is going to help us. We released Shonta too early, therefore she's our responsibility."

My eyes grew to the size of saucers. "What the...that's insane! We're fellow Aurora Knights in serious trouble and Prowler has the Light Dragon Key! If they don't do something it's going to get much worse!"

As soon as I was done talking Prowler walked out of Riku's room and towards us. I regained my composure just in time. He looked at Riku and then at me. "If it isn't the two losers. I believe you're supposed to be my gracious hosts and look after me today."

Riku nodded and gestured for him to follow us. His eyes darted to me as he switched to private telepathy. <If we get Magma involved, everything is going to be fire and brimstone. No one will be safe. It will be better for everyone if we don't bring him or Char into this.>

I let out a small sigh. That was going to make the matter more complicated. It meant that if we told any of the higher ups, they would tell Magma and he would be on the warpath. We could trust Feather and Imani to keep it to themselves. No one else.

<I sent Apollo to get Static and Cinder. They won't be too far away from us if something goes wrong in class. Look to your left.>

I did a quick glance and ended up doing a double take. Cinder's head was sticking out the ground. He dove back underground before Prowler could notice him. "What's so interesting?" Prowler asked me.

"Nothing," I muttered.

Prowler looked anyway and smirked. "Ah, I see. That human girl."

"What?" I looked again and saw Stacey run over to me. She gave me a tight hug as she looked at Riku with contempt. "Hey, how's it going?"

Stacey turned her attention to me and pouted. "Ry, where were you last night? Venus and I needed some company." She locked eyes with Prowler and cocked an eyebrow. "Friend of yours?"

"I wouldn't go that far," I said in a low voice. "Riku, could you go ahead with him? I need to talk to Stacey alone."

"I'm sure they wouldn't mind sticking around. That is, unless you're ashamed of me." Her eyes seemed to grow cold for a second.

I looked over at the other two and took a deep breath. I was going to have to say this sooner or later. "I can't see you anymore."

Stacey's smug look turned to one of pure shock. Riku and Prowler's reaction, on the other hand, was almost indescribable. Prowler's was most likely shock and anger. Riku actually looked a little satisfied. "You have some good qualities but I feel like I got into this relationship for the wrong reasons," I continued, trying to be as polite as possible.

"Don't you shove that Dr. Phil crap on me!" Stacey shrieked. "I can't believe you're dumping me! So who's the other? Riku or the other guy?"

"What? Stacey, it's not like that!" I could hear Prowler snicker behind my back. I tried not to join him. "I just think that getting back together with Shonta..."

"You're going back to her? After all we've been through together?"

I gave her a weird look. "We've only been together for a few days."

"But it seems like forever!"

"I'm sure you'll find someone else..." I started despite knowing that I sounded pretty pathetic at this point.

"Oh, you can kiss my ass!" She shoved me away and stormed off back toward the girls' dorms.

"Would if you had one," I mumbled. Riku nodded in agreement.

Prowler sneered at me but chose not to talk about Shonta at the moment. "Are we going or not?" he asked impatiently.

We continued to the classroom, both Riku and I feeling uncomfortable with the fact that we were actually walking together and not on the verge of being at each other's neck. I felt better knowing that things would go back to normal once Prowler was out of the question. As we approached the classroom for Pokemon Mythology, Riku stopped. "I have to get to my own class. We'll meet again for lunch." He waved to us before Prowler and I went in the classroom.

My classmates instantly gave my visitor interested looks when we walked through the door. Eusine glared at us and spoke at his signature bold voice. "I see you've decided to join us. Take a seat quickly unless you want to fail this class."

Despite Shonta having Terri on one side of her and a guy on the other, Prowler made his way to her. Terri obviously stayed where she was even with the Raitah looking down on her. Shonta grasped her shoulder and whispered something in her ear. Terri took one last hard look at Prowler and joined me at my own table.

"What did she tell you?" I asked Terri as she took out her notebook.

"She said not to worry and that this way she can make sure Prowler doesn't do anything rash like bite off the teacher's head."

"Good luck with that."

The lecture commenced, Eusine occasionally slamming his hands on the tables should anyone seem like they were spacing out or falling asleep. I kept checking on Shonta as she cringed under Prowler's eye. Fortunately he didn't do anything inappropriate; he just gave light touches on her shoulder. We were halfway through when I guessed he was getting too bored. He whispered something in Shonta's ear that made her shoot up in her seat.

"Something wrong, Jones?" Eusine asked her with a clenched jaw.

"I need to get some fresh air. Not feeling well," she whimpered.

"She's fine," Prowler said forcefully.

"Just five minutes, sir."

"Sit back down," Prowler told her, raising his voice.

"Don't you boss around my cousin!" Terri, of course, couldn't keep silent for long.

"Shut up, human!"

"You shut up, punk!"

"QUIET, BOTH OF YOU!" Eusine roared. "Jones, five minutes."

"Don't go anywhere," Prowler growled. He took her arm and gave it a hard squeeze. Shonta bit her lip but couldn't stop a whimper from squirming out. Terri and I scooted back from the table. Anyone that was spacing out or falling asleep was now at full attention.

"Whoever you are, you are stepping outside boundaries. Let go of her arm."

"You don't command me. I do whatever I wish." He gave Shonta's arm another squeeze, earning a small cry this time.

Eusine crossed his arms. "You can do 'whatever you wish' outside of my class."

"Fine, but she's coming with me." He rose from his seat and started to drag her out of the classroom. Shonta started to struggle but let out another cry of pain and complied.

Instinct told me to stop him before he got out. Never mind that Static and Cinder were close by. I stood up and gripped Ripper's pokeball. "Stay where you are!" I ordered.

Prowler turned to me with a cocky grin. "Why do you care about her? You turned to another human for affection when she denied you. You turned her away when she tried to apologize. You betrayed her trust and thought you were the righteous one. Letting that other human go did not redeem yourself."

Shonta's head snapped up and swiveled to me, her eyes full of tears. Her mouth worked but no words came out. I wanted to go to her but Prowler wouldn't allow it. I clenched my jaw to calm myself. If I got irrational it wouldn't be a good thing. "I clearly know that. But I'm not going to let a maniac like you control her. I care for her more than myself."

Terri smiled at me and gave me a thumbs up. I raised Ripper's pokeball. "I've known her for fourteen years, Prowler. That gave me a lot of time to learn about her. Like...how she'll go mental if she goes too long without something that tastes sweet or fruity. Like she won't sit still or quiet when her favorite songs are playing. Like she'll always gets back at me when I beat her at any kind of game."

"What is your point?" Prowler demanded impatiently.

My voice got louder and bolder. "My point is that I know her more than you'll ever know. She can't stand you! If she would get over her weakness and be the bonehead she sometimes is, you wouldn't have a chance!"

Shonta jerked like a bullet hit her chest. She put a hand over her heart and swallowed hard. Prowler cut her eyes at her and gave her arm one last squeeze. A shrill cry rang through the classroom but I could still hear the snapping of bone. All the students got up out of their seats, some of them clutching pokeballs of their own.

"Shonta!" Terri called out. Her cousin slumped to the floor, her arm still in Prowler's grasp.

Eusine pulled out a pokeball of his own but Prowler saw the movement of his arm and landed a foot square in his stomach. He hit the blackboard and was knocked unconcious from the impact. "No moves or the human gets it!" Prowler roared to the other students. Everyone but the Knights obeyed.

"Ripper, Metal Claw!" I yelled while tossing the pokeball. The Scizor sprang out with lightning speed and smacked Prowler with one of his pincers. He released Shonta's arm, giving her a chance to scramble behind Ripper. Even though he had a human form, Prowler just stumbled back with a bruise on his cheek. Recovering quickly, he gave Ripper a toothy grin. His canines were already transformed.

"Are you okay?" Ripper asked Shonta while keeping his gaze on Prowler.

Shonta slowly looked up at him. "My arm. I think it's broken," she told him softly.

"Get out of this room and find your Pokemon. We'll deal with this demon." He raised his claw in response of Prowler's growl.

"No." Her tone was now hard and cold. She used her good arm to help herself to her feet. "He has my Key and I'm tired of being scared of him."

Ripper smiled bitterly. "Love your enthusiasm but you won't be of much use with a broken arm. We got your back so don't worry."

Shonta inched towards the door, watching Prowler every step of the way. Prowler seemed to be torn between stopping her and fighting Ripper. He took one step back and reeled back to dodge another Metal Claw by Ripper.

"Now, Shonta!" I yelled. Shonta nodded and ran out the door. I thought I saw Static's tail twitch in the doorway.

"Come back here!" Prowler growled. Ripper moved to stop him but was caught by surprise when his opponent sucked in a breath and blew out a Flamethrower in his face. Several students ducked under the tables to avoid being burned.

"Raitah can use Flamethrower?" Terri said in disbelief. I said nothing in response.

Ripper was still for a few seconds then winced and shook his head. "That was pretty low," he told Prowler before collapsing on the floor.

Prowler smirked at me and ran out the door. Terri started to run after him but I grabbed her shoulder with one hand while returning Ripper with the other. "Go get Riku. His class is in another building so he probably doesn't know what's going on," I told her.

"But--" she started to argue.

"Go!" I shouted. She snorted but ran out the door and went in the opposite direction as Prowler.

One of the classmates had the courage to peek over the table at me. "What in Johto is going on here?" he asked me in bewilderment.

"Don't ask questions! Just stay in this classroom!" I told him in a rush as I rushed out the classroom.

Static stood in the middle of the hallway with his arms crossed. "I've been waitin' for youse! Apollo teleported Shonta somewhere safe before Prowler could see her. He's watching her with Artemis. The rest of us are waitin' your orders."

I rubbed my forehead in thought. "I don't have a plan. What happened in the classroom wasn't fully expected," I told him.

The Raichu stood rigid. "Great, man. Do youse have any idea of what to do now?"

"I know we need to get that Light Dragon Key from him. That's going to be hard considering what we're up against."

"Den what? Dat thing is worthless without Shonta! And I don't think Prowler's gonna stand still to be put in a Crystal Cage!"

I bit my lip until my eyes lit up. "We need more muscle to make him stay still. Go get Joi while I try to keep Prowler from causing much damage. And someone needs to get Lady Imani." We both jumped as we heard a loud roar and a scream from outside. "We don't have much time."

mr_pikachu
18th April 2007, 10:24 PM
All right! It continues! :D

Very intense. Good to see Ryan's finally broken up with Stacey; that was a long time coming. Funny how she automatically assumed Ryan was gay, though... that's arrogance for you! Anyway, this new situation's going to be pretty tricky without the top Aurora Knights to help. Wonder how Ryan will handle it?

The one thing I didn't understand was Eusine's acceptance of the... odd guest in the classroom. I know professors sometimes don't mind if an outsider sits in for a lecture, but considering Prowler's unusual nonverbal behavior, it didn't seem to add up. He was acting strangely even before the incident, so what was with the Prof? A little more description (especially that of the setting) might have also been nice, but Eusine's actions were the main point of confusion for me.

Still, good chapter - er, half-chapter. ^_^;; Good to see Ryan and Riku sort of getting along, and things should get even more intense now with a raging Raitah on the loose. Seriously, this dude does not seem like one of the good guys. I expect we'll be hearing more about him soon, but for now, I'll just eagerly anticipate the next chapter. Half-chapter. Until then! :wave:

Drago
13th June 2007, 03:41 AM
classy, you first replied to Minty Thrill on November 5th, 2003. In no short terms, I feel like a jerk that it's taken me all this time to actually return the favour, and read your work. And now, I'm seriously sitting here saying... wow.

I really, really like this fic. The characters feel very unique, and I find myself actually caring about their fate. I particularly like Prowler, that's usually my favourite kinda character! I also love the feeling to this fic... just the kinda edgy ambience to it, y'know? Crikey I'm bad at being descriptive.
Another big thing I like about this fic... it's got really nice paragraphs, very easy to read. Something I'm terrible at. ^^;
I'd like to say more, but I was kinda power-reading from the beginning, trying to get in as much as my crummy computer would allow between crashes. I'll print off some chapters so I can read it properly. And I'll have to do my Doolittle backstory research, too!

You've officially got a new fan in me, classy! (I don't usually call people by name until given permission. ...'cept mr_pikachu, I think I started calling him Brian amidst trash-talk. lol) Keep up the grand work! ...And hey, post the next chapter soon. People say I'm slow with updates... :P

classy_cat18
18th June 2007, 10:15 PM
DragoKnight: Thanks for taking the time to read my fanfic. It's always nice to get new fans. And I'm working on decreasing the time between updates.

*brings out champagne* This is a time to celebrate. The second half is up! Enjoy!

United We Stand, Part 2

Shonta's POV:

It was pandemonium at the college within minutes of the incident in Eusine's classroom. Prowler made it outside in full Raitah form and started to terrify any student that crossed him. A lot of them tried using their Pokemon; in fact, all of them did. There was something about an angry Raitah on a rampage that kept the Pokemon from venturing outside their pokeballs.

That was what Static told me as I sat in the human treatment room at the Pokemon Center as Joi worked on my broken arm. She was rubbing it at the source of pain while transferring some white light into it. "This won't take long but be careful. Even after this bone is healed it will still be a little fragile for the rest of the day," she told me.

"How are you doing this? I don't know of any Pokemon moves that can heal bone," I said.

"This is the special ability of those with the Clear Crystals. We're like the White Mages of the Aurora Knights." She pressed down on the arm and put one more small burst of energy into the skin. I could feel it, cool but not uncomfortably cold. "Ripper should be ready now if he hasn't been burned too badly by that Flamethrower."

Artemis's tail twitched nervously as we heard the screaming from outside the Center. "This is getting way out of hand," she told her brother Apollo. "The humans and Pokemon in the lobby are starting to wonder how a Raitah got on campus. The only reason why this hasn't gotten more chaotic is because no Pokemon wants to face him right now."

"It's because of the miasma. Prowler released a type of miasma that terrifies and weakens non-Knight Pokemon," Apollo replied.

"I didn't detect a miasma," I said as I got off the chair.

"This is a special miasma that only the other Pokemon can detect. We can't even feel it." He stretched out and let out a yawn. "This, however, will also affect the Aurora Mirrors. It's what we call a siege miasma."

Cinder, who was sitting beside me, suddenly got very edgy. "You mean we can't get help from outside?"

"Like anyone would help us," Static grumbled.

I stayed silent while I looked down at my arm. There was no pain but I could still feel Prowler's fingers curled around it, getting tighter as his anger grew. As I imagined his hand breaking my arm, I let out a small cry as I could actually feel the pain. Reaper's head snapped to look at me. "Some scars never heal," was all he told me.

I glanced at him for a second before turning away, feeling insignificant under his gaze. "I'm sorry, guys. I was pretty stupid for letting all this happen to me. Please forgive me."

One of the Pokemon climbed up my jeans and shirt before settling on my shoulder. I turned my head to see that it was Static. "Youse would've been in woise trouble if we hadn't have forgiven ya. Ain't dat right, Artie?"

Artemis winced at her given nickname then gave a small smile. "You went through a lot these past few days, Shonta. Way too much for an ordinary human to bear. Right now we're just glad to see that you're back to normal."

"Yeah, the other you was too scary," Cinder agreed.

I turned back to Reaper who met my gaze. The Scyther hadn't even shown himself until today and I was under the impression that he was ashamed of his trainer's behavior. "Reaper?"

He closed his eyes and kept his solemn expression. "I remember a certain Pokemon visciously attacking you and Ryan twice and still treated like a true friend. I'm sure his 'friend' remembers doing the same thing." Then he grinned. "It would be wrong to not return the trust."

I laughed, knowing who he was referring to. "You're going to make me cry. Seriously, this is a real Kodak moment."

"You know he's just saying that to get some action," a newly healed Ripper joked as he entered.

Reaper actually seemed to blush at that comment. "I am not..." he started to shout.

"He was kidding," Artemis interrupted. "Jeez, you always have to take things so literally."

"Yeah, we all know you're really gay," Ripper said.

I stepped between the two of them before a fight could start. "As relieved as I am that we can play around right now, we still need a plan. For some reason Prowler is just walking around the campus. It's like he's not really looking for me."

Joi walked back in with Kanna. "There seems to be another problem," Kanna told us. "The students in the lobby are watching the news. It's a breaking story; a reporter is right outside the gates talking about the situation. I'm betting a helicopter will join the party to give the viewers a better view."

"Dat was quick," Static commented. "Youse humans sure know how to be nosy."

"They must have teleported all of their equipment there by Pokemon. I heard they do that when big stories break out like this."

"Where's Ryan during all this?" Cinder squeaked in a panic. "This is no time to be calm!"

I left the room and peeked out the double doors watch the TV in the front lobby. A blond woman was holding a microphone and speaking in an intense voice. "We have arrived at Ecruteak College where a dangerous Pokemon has broken loose and started mayhem on campus. The Pokemon has been identified as a male Raitah, a rare Pokemon that has never been seen outside Neo. The police were informed about thirty minutes ago but for an entirely different reason." She turned to a guy that I identified as one of the students in the Pokemon Mythology class.

The guy glanced at the camera and smiled stupidly. "Hey, Ma!" he said.

Static and I groaned. "All the students in that class and they had to pick a stoner," I said.

Stoner Guy realized that he wasn't there just to make an idiot of himself and went to his story (which sounded just as stupid). "Well, there was this dude with a weird black hairstyle and he was acting like a jerk to this chick that sat in front of me. Nice chick, nice looking rack. Needed makeup, though."

I heard the other students laugh at his comment. "For the love of God, someone get him off the camera," I whimpered.

"Please continue," the reporter urged while looking like she was having a migraine.

Stoner Guy scratched his head. "So this dude gets really angry and breaks the chick's arm. I mean, I could hear it break. This really cool blond dude sends out his Scizor and battles the black haired dude like he's a Pokemon. I was like, 'He's not a Pokemon. He's, like, human and all.' But then the black-haired dude shoots fire at the Scizor and knocks him out. Like he's a Pokemon! And then he runs out the room."

"I'm sure he's not a complete idiot," Static assured me. "After all, they let him in."

"Do you think that that incident and the current one are connected?" the reporter asked him.

He gave a quick shrug. "I dunno. I mean, it's not like I go here. My girlfriend likes it when I visit." He waved to the camera again. "Hi, Stacey!"

Static bursted out into laughter. "Dat broad sure knows howta pick 'em!"

Stacey's voice could be heard in the lobby. "HOW COULD HE DO THAT TO ME?" she shrieked.

"Karma, baby!" I yelled back, disappearing behind the double doors before she could see me.

"So far the police have been reluctant to take unnecessary action against the male Raitah as their Pokemon are somehow unwilling to come out of their pokeballs or approach the intruder," the reporter continued as Stoner Guy walked off. "The Raitah has not directly attacked anyone so far, making it possible for teachers to evacuate most of the students. But the police will use excessive force against it should it attack any of the students."

Not good. I looked back at the rest of the group. "They're going to blast Prowler with guns if we don't do something quick."

"And we should care...why?" Static inquired.

Kanna shook her head. "It's going to take something very serious for them to use guns. Raitah are a protected species. The first thing they're going to do is try to calm him down, then they'll try to incapacitate him. If they have true excessive force in mind, it's way down on the list."

"We should still take care of Prowler before the police steps in."

The reporter conversed with the anchorpeople back at the news station before spotting some more people to talk to: Ryan, Terri and Riku. The three of them looked like they were trying to avoid the camera but that failed. The reporter went to Ryan first. "What do you think of the current situation?" she asked him.

Poor Ryan froze like a Stantler caught in the headlights. He gave a small smile. "Uh...I think...it...sucks," he answered nervously.

"Very articulate," Ripper observed sarcastically as he stood behind me.

"He's your trainer," I reminded him.

"He's your boyfriend," he retorted.

"Touche."

The reporter moved to Terri next. Terri didn't even give the reporter time to ask her anything and she definitely wasn't nervous about her opinion. "None of your business, so scram! You don't have to go home but you can't stay here!" she shouted into the camera.

"Oookay," the reporter said as Terri pulled Ryan away from the camera and toward the Center. Riku stayed, wearing his sunglasses and resembling a Secret Service agent on vacation. "Is there any reason you haven't evacuated the premises?"

"Leave or I'll have you fired," Riku said forcefully.

The reporter gasped in surprise. "Mr. Iwata! I'm sorry; I didn't realize it was you!" She gestured to the cameraman to stop taping. It cut to the studio where the two anchorpeople looked at each other in confusion.

"Ah, the perks of being rich and powerful," I mused.

The calm was soon broken by a strange sound, a mix between a roar and a song. The others didn't seem to be affected by it as they just stood around and listened. But it seemed to subdue my emotions. "Is that Prowler?" I asked quietly.

Ripper winced. "He sounds like a Meowth in heat," he whined.

"He doesn't sound that bad. In fact, it sounds kind of nice." I was the only one who didn't notice that my voice sounded flat and emotionless. At that point I probably forgot that I was at the Center.

"Shonta? Shonta!" I didn't know or care who was calling to me; my ears were transfixed to that song.

I must go to him.

Artemis's POV:

"Shonta? Shonta!" I called out to my trainer. She wasn't listening to me. Slowly she started to walk to the double doors. I did the first thing I could think of and pulled on her pants leg with my teeth. When she started to drag me I tried biting her leg. No response, even though I had drawn blood. Static and Cinder looked at me, both of them looking terrified. "We have to do something!"

"We're goin' after her!" Static said without hesitation.

"WAIT!" Cinder screamed before we could take a step. "She's going to Prowler. You know Prowler, right? Big cat, sharp teeth and claws, bad attitude?"

I gaped at him and looked back at the doors. Shonta was probably outside. "Cinder, that's our friend! Are you going to let our friend put herself in danger?" I inquired, my eyes pleading for him to change his mind.

Cinder's eyes darted from me to the door and then to Static's angry face. "What can I do? I'm not even evolved!"

"You're an Aurora Knight, Cinder! Evolution doesn't matter!" Static told him angrily. Losing patience, he got behind the Cyndaquil and pushed him until Cinder got annoyed and ran with us willfully.

The students had noticed Shonta walking like a zombie out the door and were all at the front windows. I don't think they saw us run after her but they most likely spotted us when we got outside. I didn't bother looking back.

Prowler stood in front of Shonta as she met him near the dorms, his Umbra Crystal embedded in his forehead. A wicked smile appeared on the Pokemon. "I knew you would answer my call. I am, after all, irresistable," he told Shonta smugly. Shonta said nothing but took a few steps closer to him. "I suppose you would want your pretty crystal back. It means nothing to me; you're the real prize."

"Stay here," I whispered to Static and Cinder. I ran to Shonta's side and glared at Prowler. "If you didn't want the crystal then why did you take it?" I demanded.

He rolled his eyes, exasperated that I didn't know his intentions. "First of all, it was ineffective at the time so it wouldn't matter even if I didn't take it. But I still took it as a safeguard. See, you seem to be softened by human morals while I was raised in the wild. I was taught if I wanted something, I should take it no matter what and by any means necessary. The Light Dragon Key is worthless to me and it has been worthless to my pride for many generations. It was the Dark Phoenix Key that held our interest."

What the Kai Draco Crystal showed us in Melon Island...two prides of Raitah kept the Keys... "Your pride looked over the Dark Phoenix Key between generations," I theorized.

"You're not as stupid as I thought," he sneered.

"You lied about not knowing about these things."

"Not exactly."

"You wanted Shonta, even though you had your own females." My eyes narrowed. "You probably even knew that she loved someone else and wasn't even the slightest bit interested in you."

His lips curled into a sneer. "Didn't you hear what I said earlier? 'Take it no matter what and by any means necessary.' I don't care! I wanted her and it angered me that she didn't see what I was! Females have killed for me! And who does she choose? A pathetic, wannabe Arcanine that was willing to drop her for an insignificant human bimbo!"

"D-d-don't call my trainer p-p-pathetic!" Cinder stuttered more loudly than I thought he would.

"Oh?" His eyes left mine and traveled to Cinder and Static. "Do the two rats have something to say?"

Static thrashed his tail in the air, a sign that the comment struck a nerve. "My friend told youse ta lay off his trainer," he told him boldly.

The two's courage waned, however, when the big cat's smiled deviously. "Very well." Without further warning he jumped over me and rushed for Static and Cinder. He was too fast for me to intercept!

Prowler skidded to a stop seconds after he started running. Although he blocked my view, I still knew that the two targets used Dig to evade him. "Damn! Where'd they go?" he growled. He circled around the two holes in the ground but paused quickly enough to notice the trembling under his paws right before the ground below them collapsed, making him give an unforgettable expression that made him resemble Wile E. Coyote.

Static popped his head in front of me, followed by Cinder. "Did we get him?" Cinder asked me.

"You don't see him, do you?" I asked smugly.

"I'LL GET YOU RODENTS!" we heard Prowler roar from the hole.

"Let's see you get out of there first!" I crowed. Static high-fived me. Both of our ears perked at the sound of someone approaching.

"Ryan!" Cinder squeaked happily as he ran to the Arcanine. A Politoed sat on his back and an Espeon stood beside them.

Ryan turned to Shonta, who was now rubbing her forehead like she had a headache. "Oh man, what happened? It's like the last ten minutes were a blur," she groaned.

"Hey, you're back!" I said in immense relief. I nuzzled her leg and raised my head for her scratches.

"Youse was in a daze," Static explained to her. "Dat trap must've broken his hold on youse."

"It is believed that Raitah use a song of sorts to call to other Raitah, which is why Shonta was the only one affected," Riku answered for Shonta. "You may have been in human form but you always have a bit of Pokemon in you."

She stopped petting me and looked back at the hole that Static and Cinder made. "I'm guessing by the angry snarls and roars that Prowler's down that hole," she predicted.

"Yep! Are you proud of me?" Cinder asked his trainer, smiling when he nodded.

"Of course, you did remember to retrieve the Key before you trapped him down there, right?" Riku asked Cinder. An awkward silence followed.

Static slapped his forehead. "Oh, for the love of Arceus!" he yelled. "Might as well get it myself!"

Another loud roar filled the air. This time it filled me with dread, as if something bad was coming. "Guys? I think he's doing another one of those roars," I said shakily.

We all looked at Shonta. She seemed to be affected by this one too, but she was more affected than I was. She was visibly shaking and holding her head, her eyes squeezed shut. "Shonta?" Ryan asked softly.

Shonta's eyes snapped open. "Run! They're here!" she cried.

I didn't even have time to ask her anything before something slammed into me and sent me sailing over the short grass. I slid to a stop and looked at my side. Claw marks.

A mane-less Raitah appeared before the group and snickered. "You really are idiots. We've been hidden ever since Prowler came here and you didn't suspect a thing!" she told us.

"But how?" I asked before rising to my feet and wincing from the pain of the slash. I was answered by a breeze that swept the field. "You stayed downwind and invisible the entire time we were fighting Prowler. We couldn't smell or see you." My eyes narrowed. "How many more are there?"

The Raitah smirked and nodded slightly. As if on cue, Shonta fell to the ground and hit her head hard enough to knock her unconscious. Another mane-less Raitah appeared and pressed a paw down on her chest. A bolt of lightning came out of nowhere and struck Terri while she was still on Ryan's back, making her scream in pain. She tumbled to the ground, knocked cold.

"Just me and two others," Flunky #1 said casually. "Although that's enough to even the playing field."

"What would you know about playing fair?" I asked her angrily.

"You're right. All that matters is we get our prey, whether it be the girl or..." Her eyes swept our group of bewildered and intimidated battlers. "Everyone else."

"Either way Prowler will get what he wants," Flunky #2 said as she pressed down harder on Shonta's chest. Ryan and Riku took a step forward and Flunky #2 extended her claws. "You won't make it here in time."

Flunky #3, the one who shocked Terri, appeared and approached the hole. Prowler was slowly climbing out of it by himself. "Your choice," Flunky #3 said. "Either the Key owner comes with us alive, or all of the rest of you come with us dead and she comes with us anyway."

"What kind of choice is that?" Ryan growled.

"Damned if youse do, damned if youse don't," Static told me grimly.

"Gotta do something, gotta do something..." Cinder chanted to himself.

"How about we just clobber all of you and send you back with your tails between your legs?" Ripper said boldly as he calmly walked with Reaper to us.

The pride of Raitah all looked at the two bug Pokemon with annoyed expressions. "Sure. Why don't we make it a party? LET'S GO!" Prowler roared.

The whole pride rushed Reaper and Ripper, who both did attack stances and surrounded them with a Double Team. Looking slightly surprised, the Raitah stood in a circle facing the doubles. Each one blasted a few with a Thunderbolt. A cloud of dust rose into the sky and obscured our view of the Pokemon.

We were all on edge, huddled close to each other for support. "Did they get them?" Ryan wondered.

"I can't see," I said.

As the dust cleared, we could see the Raitah but Reaper and Ripper were gone. The Raitah looked out for them, not suspecting the next attack.

BOOM! A white orb dropped in the center of the Raitah circle and exploded, sending them flying in different directions. Reaper and Ripper jumped out of the hole that Cinder and Static created. A Chansey clumsily climbed out of a newly dug hole. "Good thing I have good aim," the Chansey said. "My Egg Bomb is one of my few good attacks."

I tilted my head to the side. Is that Joi's Pokemon form? What's with the hole?

"NOW!" Cinder yelled, scaring me. He raced for Prowler while he was recovering and pounced on him, holding as tightly as his little paws will allow. Prowler tried to shake him off but to no avail. His assault was quickly ended when Prowler shocked the Cyndaquil off.

"Weak little rat," Prowler sneered as he stood over his paralyzed victim. "Did you even think about the consequenses of your actions?"

"Actually..." Cinder rasped. "I did." He got up and tilted his head to show us the Light Dragon Key in his mouth.

"He got it!" Riku exclaimed in shock.

Prowler's eyes grew big for a millisecond before he swiped his paw at Cinder, narrowly missing. Cinder's head reeled back and almost fainted out of fear. The Key dropped out of his mouth and into his paws, giving him a chance to blast Prowler in the face with a Flamethrower.

"Get back here!" Ryan commanded.

"Can't move...fully paralyzed..." Cinder whimpered.

"Cinder!" Static cried out. He launched into a Quick Attack and managed to tackle Prowler away from Cinder.

Kanna ran from a couple of bushes near the dorms and scooped up Cinder just as the other Raitah were coming to, rushing toward us with Static and Joi not too far behind. "Now, Lady Khanga!" Joi yelled.

A large, glowing fist burst from the ground and straight into Prowler's jaw, sending him down for the count. The other Raitah, now recovered, started to come to his aid but hesitated as soon as they saw the monstrous Kangaskhan emerge from the earth. "Bad little ones need to stand down," Khanga spoke in her Russian accent.

"What will you do if we don't?" Flunky #1 inquired in a fearful voice.

Khanga merely gave a dark smile and wrapped a hand around Prowler's neck. "Then big little one take nice, long nap." The still conscious Prowler heard this and gulped.

One by one the Raitah's ears drooped. They bowed their heads in surrender. "Please don't hurt our leader," they said together.

"I won't die," Prowler managed to gasp.

Khanga leered down at him. "You can die. Want to see?" Her hold on him slightly tightened. His struggles got weaker until he went still and let out a whimper.

"He surrendered. How about that?" Kanna mused with a small smile. She let Cinder down on the grass.

Cinder creeped to Shonta's still form and slipped the Light Dragon Key around her neck. "We still need to do something about the Raitah," he told Ryan.

"I'm sure Joi and Khanga have it under control," Ryan replied. He lay down beside Shonta and gently nuzzled her head. Cinder, Static and I gathered around the two and took one collective sigh of relief.

My eyes wandered to the Light Dragon Key as it started to brighten to its former glory. But then it got even brighter and started to give out a tinkling sound. My ears perked along with Static's. "Dat sounds familiar," Static whispered.

Shonta's fingers twitched before her whole body was surrounded by an aura of the same color. Her eyes slowly opened, her irises now a bloody red. She slowly rose to her feet and flexed her fingers and jaw. "I am needed once again," she spoke.

"Okay, this is getting weird," I commented. "Hey Riku, what's...huh?"

The same thing was happening to the now human Riku, who was surrounded by a black aura and sporting the same red eyes. He smiled at Shonta and held out a hand. "Shall we balance things, partner?" he asked her.

"Oh yes," Shonta answered. "Let's balance."

mr_pikachu
19th June 2007, 01:08 AM
It continues! ^_^

Odd developments, there. It seemed unusual that Prowler would apparently ignore Shonta while just causing rampant destruction, but I guess it makes sense in retrospect. For one thing, Prowler basically cleared everyone away, which was the logical thing for him to do assuming that Shonta would come without a fight. And for another, it got your readers wondering what on earth was going through his creepy little head. :yes:

I especially liked the scene early in this chapter, where Shonta sort of tried to get forgiveness from her comrades. Reaper's statement sealed the deal... way to use past material well!

There was one thing that was a little troubling, though. Maybe this is just me, but it seemed like the climactic battle with Prowler was a little anticlimactic. I dunno; it just felt like it ended very quickly. On a smaller note, Static's accent seemed like it faded in and out a little, but perhaps that was just my perception of it. Some of his lines probably couldn't have been altered very much solely on the basis of that accent, anyway.

On the other hand, some of the drama between characters was handled quite well, I thought. And you left us with an interesting cliffhanger... what are Riku and Shonta going to do? You know, this may be a little awkward considering some of the past events between them, especially during the period in which Ryan wasn't exactly himself. We'll see where this leads... and I'll see you then! :wave:

classy_cat18
7th July 2007, 04:22 AM
Facing the Giants

Ryan's POV:

"Shall we balance things, partner?"

"Oh yes. Let's balance."

My eyes darted from Riku to Shonta and back to Riku. "Okay, what's going on with you two?" I demanded. "This is seriously getting too freaky for me. Shonta?" She ignored me so I called her name again. "Shonta!"

Finally Shonta spoke to me disdainfully. "What are you barking about, boy?" she asked me, her red eyes practically burning into my skull.

"I believe that's the name of your body," Riku said to her. He looked down at his own hands. "This one's skin is so pale."

Shonta laughed at him. "It seems that you're having a tough break with that one."

Ripper and Reaper glanced at each other. "Body?" Reaper asked.

"I don't like where this is going," Kanna groaned. She turned to me. "Are you sensing anything strange about Shonta?"

I stayed silent but I definitely sensed something, a power that both Shonta and Riku were emanating that seemed to dwarf and suppress mine. I was trying to stay under control but it was hard to even stand. Static, Artemis and Cinder huddled around me and shivered. They were feeling it too.

Kanna adjusted her glasses. "I have an odd theory, but I know it's right." She stepped up to Shonta with shaking legs. "You're not Shonta, are you?"

Shonta narrowed her eyes at Kanna and gave an un-Shonta smirk. "I suppose you're right," she told Kanna.

Then Kanna turned to Riku. "So I know you're not Riku."

Riku let out a laugh that almost sounded feminine. "That makes two correct guesses," he said.

Her breathing got heavier. "Then what do you call yourselves?"

"Shonta" pointed to herself. "I might be called Lord Dairyuu (Dye-ree-oo)."

"Lord?" I mouthed.

"Riku" raised his hand. "I am Lady Kagetsubasa (Kah-gay-soo-bah-sah)."

"Lady?" Ripper asked in disbelief.

Kanna's jaw dropped as she slumped to the ground. "Great Dragon and Shadow Wing. Guys, they're...they're..." She wouldn't say any more. All of us grunted as a great deal of pressure bore down on us.

"The Light Dragon," Artemis said breathlessly. "And the Dark Phoenix."

"I didn't think they had names," Kanna said as she kneeled. "But that's what they are."

"They must've broken out somehow," Cinder whimpered, clinging to my leg.

Ripper yelled in frustration and shook a claw at the two ancient Pokemon. "That's ridiculous! The Keys are supposed to contain your spirits! You can't just break out when you want!"

"Quiet, you," Dairyuu boomed. Another pulse of energy and Ripper was down on his knees like Kanna. He struggled to breathe until Dairyuu calmed down.

"Partner, you need to control your temper," Kagetsubasa said in a singsong voice.

That was the next thing that unnerved me. Dairyuu was now acting like Magma when he's trying to intimidate everyone. Kagetsubasa almost seemed...girly. "No way. You're gender benders!" I blurted out before I could stop myself.

Dairyuu shot at look at me that screamed "kill". Kagetsubasa giggled like a little girl. "That's right! It was the same way the last time we had vassals. Unfortunately we both can't have the same gender. I kind of like being with this guy, though. So...feminine."

"Can't argue wit' youse there," Static said quietly, probably calmed down from the lack of pressure. It was then I predicted that the two entities' power was influenced by their emotions. If they were angry, someone was going to feel it.

"Actually, we don't have a specific gender," Great Dragon corrected. "We take on certain personality traits from each vassal that serves us. Usually Kagetsubasa gets the girls but the last two times..."

"He's afraid he's going to start acting like me," Shadow Wing told us, very amused by her partner's plight. "But right now, we consider myself female and Dairyuu male. I don't think we'll switch genders anytime soon."

"Dis is th' second time I've seen somethin' like dis," Static commented. He slowly emerged from under me.

That got me curious. "What was the first time?" I asked him.

"My Uncle Babs."

"Uncle?"

"He used ta be Uncle Bob but he found some lipstick in th' woods. Our family reunions were never th' same."

Artemis poked her head out from under me and peered at the two. "So how long will you be in those bodies?" she asked timidly.

Kagetsubasa got a good look at Artemis for the first time and grinned widely, making Riku's body look very strange. "Dairyuuuuu! Look at the cute Umbreon!" she exclaimed. She squatted in front of Artemis with a look of pure adoration.

"You've seen that Umbreon before. Why are you gushing now?" her partner grumbled.

"Because I have a clearer view of her! Look at those eyes! They match mine perfectly!" Kagetsubasa let out a high pitched giggle and reached for Artemis only for the Umbreon to retreat back to my underside. "Dairyuu, can we switch? I don't like that stupid Espeon; let me have Artemis!"

"Go ahead. I don't care," Dairyuu said halfheartedly.

"Excuse me, but I already belong to Shonta! Whose body you're borrowing!" Artemis yelled angrily.

Kage gave her a girly pout and rose to her feet. "I guess we should go ahead and do what we can before we're sucked back into the crystals."

"Now I have two questions," I spoke up. "How did you get out and has it ever happened before?"

Dairyuu glared at me and I felt another upsurge of power. But Kagetsubasa put a hand on his shoulder and explained. "The Scizor is right. The crystals are supposed to keep our souls contained. Rather cruel, it is. Those things are more like prisons. But every now and then, especially when there's a tussle among the crystal bearers, a trapdoor of sorts appears. A tiny chink in the armor that can allow a fraction of our powers to leak and temporarily bind with our vassals."

"A fraction?" Reaper echoed. He and I looked back at the Raitah. All of them, even Prowler, were trembling in fear with their heads bowed down. These Pokemon were so powerful that their energy was scaring these frightening predators.

Dairyuu stretched and yawned. "The last time it happened, I tried to give that Alakazam what he clearly deserved. Unfortunately that creature pulled a fast one on me."

Nine years ago...when Alakazam killed Professor Cedar's father... "So what will you do while you're out?" I asked him.

He flexed his hand and rotated his shoulders. "I have more time than I previously thought so I will make the most of it." He took Kage's hand. "It's time that these quarreling underlings took a time-out."

"Agreed," Kagetsubasa said brightly.

They faced each other and were surrounded by their respective auras. The energy grew and finally shot up into the sky and twisted around each other, forming a double helix. The nearby buildings were bathed with light and shadow. All of the Knights and Raitah crouched low to the ground in awe of the sight and power. The two Keys threw their heads back and let out a cry that sounded like a haunting song.

"They're singing," Artemis said quietly. She looked up to the sky and let out a song similar to theirs. Then Static and Cinder joined in. Something rose in my throat, forcing me to belt out the same tune, although it sounded more like a howl. Even Terri stood with an unknown energy and joined in. Within a minute we were all singing.

Our crystals shone brightly with the same color, a bright white light that blinded us but didn't keep us from singing. Even though I had no idea of how to sing their song, I still matched their notes perfectly.

I felt myself changing back to human form along with the others. The energy of my own crystal felt suppressed. Now we all got quiet. The two Keys had finished their song. Kagetsubasa let go of the other's hand and faced the Knights while Dairyuu faced the Raitah. "Ah, the Nocturne of Rest. Such a pretty song, wouldn't you agree?" Kage asked us eagerly.

"The Nocturne of Rest? I don't get it. Who's resting?" Cinder wondered.

Artemis nudged my Kai Flame Crystal. "I think the crystals are resting. Ryan's isn't shining as brightly as before, and he did go back to human form during the song."

I looked down at the crystal in Static's forehead. It wasn't shining at all as it sunk into his body. The others' crystals did the same until the only ones still visible were the Kai Crystals. It was then that I had an idea of what the two Keys had done. "All of the regular crystals have been turned off or something like that, but I think we can still use the Kai Crystals. But what will this solve? Will they be like this forever?"

"We will discuss this with your leader," Dairyuu said sternly.

"You mean Master Magma?"

"So he's 'master', huh? He sure thinks highly of himself," Kagetsubasa commented with a strangely serious voice.

Behind me I could hear Ripper talk to Reaper. "Man, if we could've videotaped Riku acting like that, it could've been good for some blackmailing!"

"You're just saying that because you don't like him...and because he's rich," Reaper said with a hint of amusement in his tone.

Dairyuu stretched out his hand and closed his eyes in concentration. A huge ring of gold materialized in front of him, but with a second glance I saw that it was a large mirror that had Neo Valley as its reflection. "Can you create Aurora Mirrors?" I asked him.

He looked at me as if he I asked him a stupid question. "It's not really a mirror," he explained.

"Lord Dairyuu," Khanga spoke up. She stood before him with a hand grasping the scruff of Prowler's neck. "What are orders for Demon here?"

Dairyuu and Kagetsubasa looked down on Prowler, probably contemplating all sorts of torture and execution. Finally Dairyuu spoke. "He is a chosen of the Great Crystal; that we cannot change. But his attitude needs to be adjusted." He put a hand over the crystal in his forehead as it was surrounded in a white light. What should've been at least two hours of purification for Shonta only took a few seconds for the Great Dragon. Prowler's expression didn't change but his gaze stayed on the floor.

"These Pokemon -- or whatever they are -- could be like Yin and Yang," Kanna said to no one in particular. "Their conflicting personalities and their energy seem to fit the description. This could also explain why Riku is so attracted to Shonta and cannot hurt her with his Key."

Dairyuu's head snapped to her. "You! Kai Shock Knight! Do you have Shock Balls?"

Kanna's hand immediately went into her pocket. "Only one, my Lord," she answered, clapping her hand over her mouth as she realized what she had addressed him as. She slowly walked to him and put a bright yellow pokeball in his borrowed hand. The small fingers expanded the pokeball and pressed it between Prowler's eyes. The Raitah allowed himself to be captured.

Dairyuu gave one last look at the Shock Ball and tossed it to Kanna. "You are now responsible for him," he told her. Then he motioned for Khanga to come closer to him. "You are responsible for taking his pride back to their home." Khanga nodded and started to lead the confused Raitah to the Pokemon Center. Finally he turned to the rest of us. "We shall have a word with this Master Magma." He emphasized Magma's title with a bit of disgust.

He and Kagetsubasa led us through the ring of gold. Unlike the Aurora Mirrors, there didn't seem to be anything separating one side from the other. It was like he opened a rip in space. It was bright over in Neo Valley, a stark contrast to the bleakness of Ecruteak College.

But it was far from empty. All of the high ranking Knights that we met were gathered there, some of them looking angry. Feather, on the other hand, seemed to be worried. The second she saw Shonta/Dairyuu, her expression changed to one of excitement. She ignored the talking Pokemon and flew to the Great Dragon in her Pidgeot form. "Shonta, I'm so glad you're alright! Everyone was worried!" Feather said in a high-pitched voice that made Dairyuu wince.

"Tune down the pitch of your voice, bird," Dairyuu told Feather firmly.

Feather's excitement was shot down instantly. "Shonta?"

I stepped in before Dairyuu could say anything else. "Feather, this isn't Shonta," I told her as calmly as possible.

"But..." she started.

"You will address me as Lord Dairyuu," the dragon interrupted, showing no concern for her.

"Dairyuu?"

"He's the Light Dragon," I explained.

She looked at me...then at Dairyuu...then to Kagetsubasa...then finally back to me with a blank expression. "Will they be back?" She had already assumed that the same had happened to Riku.

Dairyuu was growing more irritated but he kept his emotions and power under control. "They will have their bodies back soon. Now tell me, are you the Kai Aero Knight?" Feather shook her head. "I will still need your help later."

She nodded and changed into her Pidgey form so she could perch on my shoulder. "Ryan, why is Sh...I mean Dairyuu so mean?" she whispered in my ear.

"He always has a stick up his butt," Kagetsubasa whispered in my other ear. She giggled and jogged to catch up with her partner.

Feather tilted her head as she watched Riku's body move in an unusual way. "That is just too weird for me."

"Why are you still changing? I thought that you would lose the Crystal's power."

"It's weakening, so I'll change back soon. Char still has power too."

The rest of us caught up with the two possessed humans just as they reached Master Magma. The giant Charizard had Char by his side. Magma was staring down his snout at Dairyuu disdainfully while Char looked as if he had no clue what was going on. "I see you have awakened, dragon," Magma sneered at Dairyuu.

Dairyuu smirked. "You speak as if you think you can command me," he said.

"I command the girl whom you are controlling."

"But I am not that girl." He patted Magma's chest. "And you will not command her as of now."

Everyone, every single living thing that stood in that clearing, turned to the two with eyes as wide as they could go. Magma was the first to recover from his shock as he glared at Dairyuu. "I am leader of the Aurora Knights!" he roared.

Kagetsubasa laughed loudly. "He thinks he's leader. Dairyuu, he's as egotistical as you."

"What's so funny?" Char demanded.

"Perhaps you haven't noticed that the power that you treasured is no longer there," Dairyuu answered.

Magma held his breath as he looked among the Knights. Then he gave a deep growl. "You. Why would you do that? We are vulnerable now; every Demon will be at our throats!"

Dairyuu looked into Magma's good eye. "Ah, but the Demons are just as crippled. The power has been shifted to the Kai Knights and the Keys. The very humans that you despise will now take their rightful place."

I was going through the full spectrum of emotions. Right now I was between fear that Magma will try to tear someone's head off -- most likely Dairyuu's -- and disbelief at Dairyuu's statement. "Master Magma is a good leader," I said to Dairyuu. "He knows a lot more about the Knights than we do."

Dairyuu closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead. "And to think that my vassal sees you as intelligent. Did you not consider the fact that the Knights and Demons were not fighting when this Charizard was young? Pokemon are not good at remembering history, but they can be exceptional when it comes to lying." He was glancing at Magma as he said the last part.

Kagetsubasa stepped in. "His predecessors convinced him that the Pokemon were the true Knights and that you humans were only along for the ride. But you have been in the history of the Aurora Crystals ever since the first humans came into existence."

"YOU LIE!" Magma roared.

"You wish," Dairyuu said in a tone that made him sound like Shonta. "You hate anything that has a drop of human blood in it, and it was the same for your ancestors. For centuries they shaped the Pokemon's minds to suit their prejudiced beliefs." He walked to Lady Imani and rested a hand on her head. "You convinced this great woman that the only way she was to be fully accepted among your ranks was to turn to a life of a full-blooded Pokemon."

Terri finally made herself known. "Nuh-uh, don't you stand there and tell me that Imani isn't a full Raitah!" she yelled.

"Very well," Dairyuu said. He sat down Indian style and looked up at her. "Imani isn't a full Raitah." That actually earned a few laughs from the Knights. "In fact, she was my last vassal, and a human just like Shonta."

"You promised you wouldn't tell anyone that," Imani grumbled.

"There's one thing wrong with that statement," Circe the Gardevior told Dairyuu. "If I remember correctly, you haven't had a vassal for over a century."

Dairyuu looked curiously at Imani. "Should I tell her?" he asked her. She nodded in approval. "You are correct. After Imani helped me in a great battle, she accidentally took in a bit of my energy for herself and it had a bit of a side effect."

"I'll be living for at least a few more centuries," Imani clarified. "I figured that it would be easier if I lived like a Pokemon. It would erase any suspicions of my prolonged lifespan, as well as other things."

"At least, that's what you made yourself believe."

"Okay. So what are your roles in all this?" Artemis asked the two Keys. "In fact, what is the story with the Aurora Crystals and the Knights and the Demons?"

Dairyuu ignored Artemis as she talked, concentrating on his quivering hand. "My vassal wants her body back, so I cannot give you the full story. Instead, I'll tell you what I can and then take my leave." He looked to Kagetsubasa, who showed him her quivering hands. "There are humans who know the history of the Kai Knights. All I'll tell you now is that the role of the normal Aurora Crystals is simply to obtain information for the Great Crystal."

"You mean the big crystal in the cave?" I said.

"Yes. The Great Crystal was once just like a plant, feeding off of the planet's energy like other plants. Then a Mew was absorbed into it and became one. The Mew's mind was still intact, but it wanted to know more about the planet. It spread smaller crystals to the rest of the planet for this reason. The crystals would remember everything the holder learned and then join the Great Crystal later to give that information.

"But then things got complicated. The Mew didn't know about the crystals' ability to grant wishes and give Pokemon incredible powers. Now it was dealing with such sad things, of violent Pokemon and the death of innocents. It couldn't do anything so...we stepped in. Our role is to balance things. As the Kai Shock Knight theorized, we are like Yin and Yang. We created light and darkness in the world in the beginning and now we balance the power of the crystals, making sure that there isn't too much darkness..."

"Or too much light," Kagetsubasa added. "We can't have everyone all goody-goody now!"

"But you both purify the crystals," Cinder said.

"My true power has never been needed, seeing as Pokemon have as many dark desires as humans," she told him.

"This war you fight with these Umbra Demons never truly ends," Dairyuu continued. "The Great Crystal will continue spreading crystals for information, some stupid Pokemon will use it for its own dark reasons, and we will clean up the mess. It's an endless cycle for now."

"But what's with all the gaps in history?" Kanna asked them. "Did you use the Nocturne of Rest for them? If so, then what makes them go back to normal?"

"It's the Nocturne of Rest. The Great Crystal actually takes a little nap so the crystals go to sleep as well. Without the Umbra Crystals' dark energy, the Demons are more managable and don't really need purifying. The Kai Knights can take care of the few more powerful Demons while the lesser ones mellow out on their own. But then the Great Crystal wakes up and the whole thing starts over again.

"The Kai Crystals are actually made with an energy different than that of the Great Crystal. In fact, they're in the same boat as us, only they were less powerful Pokemon. They reside in the Great Crystal until they are needed but they manage to retain a degree of individuality." He went back to flexing his hand. "Odd. It's easier keeping her at bay now."

"That's weird. You'd think that these crystals would come with a lifetime guarantee or something. Maybe there is something that needs to be done. You think you will be able to regain control of her at a later time?" Kagetsubasa asked him.

"Yes, I think I can." He stood up and met Magma's gaze. "You really made a big deal over nothing. How about you take an early retirement?" He gave him a warm smile.

Magma's hand shot out and grabbed Dairyuu by the neck. Kagetsubasa held me back before I could do anything. "Nothing? Keeping the Umbra Demons under control is no easy task. It took all of us to keep them under control!" Magma growled.

Dairyuu had been reasonably casual for a while, but now he was back to being condescending and intimidating. A burst of power from him knocked Magma onto his back with a loud thud. Dairyuu caught his breath and placed a foot on Magma's neck. "It never took all of you. In fact, you and your gung-ho friends are why there are so many Demons running around."

"Balance. There were too many Aurora Knights connected to each other and it threw off the balance," I said.

Dairyuu nodded without looking at me. "You, my friend, are unimportant to the Great Crystal. Your only task is to gather information for it and live a normal life. Any Umbra activity is to be handled by the Kai Knights. In a nutshell, you and all of your high ranking Pokemon friends are fired. Let the humans and rookies enjoy their freedom for the time being."

"Oh my God," Terri gasped. "No more life-risking missions. We're free!" She hugged me tightly and kissed my cheek. "I could cry!"

"Actually, Kagetsubasa might have a few missions for you during your off time. But nothing to worry about, Riku will be on hand to inform you of them. On the other hand, I'll need to go on a little journey myself."

Terri's grip on me loosened. "You're going somewhere? That means Shonta..."

"Is going with me, I'm afraid. She has been aware of her surroundings for a while so she'll be in on it too. Now that I know that the crystallic prisons have been weakened, I'm afraid that the Great Crystal needs us for something."

I was speechless. Finally Shonta was back to normal, we were free from what we now knew as pointless missions, and this Pokemon was taking her away from me. No one else said anything. Feather changed back into a Pidgeot and looked away from Dairyuu. Char was as silent as earlier but now his face matched mine. The atmosphere itself grew somber. "Where are you going? When will you be back?" I asked him with a barely controlled voice.

Dairyuu closed his eyes. "Ryan. You are a very strong individual with a unique lineage. But you need to learn to walk your own path for a while, as does Shonta. This separation will do you both good. So those are my orders, no, my request. Let your love learn what it means to be what she is." He reached out and wiped a tear from my cheek. "She loves you so much."

"Then let her say that herself," I begged.

"I will. Before she leaves." He crouched in front of Static and Artemis. "Artemis, you have a duty as the Kai Lunar Knight. Rarely do Pokemon that own Kai Crystals live long, but you are special as well. Your fate intertwines with that of Shonta's, as well as your other friends. You and the Kai Venom Knight will have adventures as well. But you'll never be alone."

"But she's our trainer!" Artemis sobbed.

"And our friend!" Cinder added.

"Without her..." Static started but was unable to finish as he broke down with the others.

"I have no one to follow," Reaper said in a voice that only Ripper and I could hear.

Dairyuu's eyes glistened. "You are more to her than that." He looked to Kagetsubasa. "Will you and Riku handle any business with the Kai Knights while I am gone with Shonta?"

She gave him a thumbs up. "I'll miss you too, you know. And Riku will miss Shonta."

"So I give him the same request."

She closed her eyes and gave him a sad smile. "And he'll respect that request."

With that the energy that I felt from them disappeared entirely. Riku started to fall forward but was caught by Circe. I kept a hand on Shonta's chest as she slumped forward. After a minute of silence, she stood up and locked eyes with me. "I love you and I will be back. I promise." Her voice was soft and sad.

My arms held her to me, and my head rested on hers. "Let me go with you," I pleaded.

"He gave you a request," she whispered. She tilted her head up and touched my lips with hers, letting them linger before pulling back.

Despite the situation, I smiled. "If he doesn't bring you back, I'll hunt you down myself and drag you back home."

"Agreed."

mr_pikachu
7th July 2007, 05:11 AM
Wow. Now that's one heck of an ending.

Okay. So these are the spirits of the keys, huh? I'm a little surprised by the contrast between their personalities and those of their hosts, but it does make for some amusing awkwardness. ^_^ That was a lot of information to absorb in one sitting, and I'm a little dumbfounded at the moment (but not in a bad way). Some of these things seem like they'll be a little clearer when we actually see them in action; for instance, the information-gathering of the Great Crystal and the respective journeys of our keyholders are both puzzling and intriguing prospects.

I liked the dominance of Dairyuu quite a bit. That seemed to guide the chapter in a lot of ways. The Light Dragon took command of the situation, from halting the fight to dethroning Magma, and from capturing Prowler to announcing the new order of things. Kagetsubasa served more for comic relief than anything else; I can just imagine the "odd way" in which she made Riku walk. J-Lo, anyone? :sweat2: The shock and awe of everyone around was pretty fitting (it actually surprised me when that seemed natural), and the partial mind control of sorts really served to solidify the mood.

I do have a couple of qualms about this chapter, though. (What, you thought you'd get away with nothing but praise? You know me better than that!) The most consistent thing that threw me off was the use of the word "vassal." Unless Shonta and Ryan are considered slaves to their keys - and I don't know, maybe they are - you probably mean to say "vessel." The other overarching concern was the aforementioned dense prose; some things got a little fast and confusing at times, so maybe the chapter could have been expanded a bit just to give a moment for us to breathe between lengthy explanations. But you probably couldn't have done much just to avoid giving a lot of information at once, given the plotline. That in itself isn't an issue at all; you handled it fairly well, all things considered. It's hard to manage such a daunting task.

In the end, I'm left with absolutely no idea of where you'll take this in the future. What will happen with Shonta's solo (or is she really alone?) adventure? Will we see Ryan languishing at home as he waits for his girlfriend? What about the continued service of the Kai Knights? And what will the other Aurora Knights do now that they've been "fired"? For that matter, will we have a power struggle between the human and Pokemon Knights? Can we expect Magma to just take this lying down? You've filled my mind with questions that have me looking forward to your continuation. And that's as big of a compliment as any I could give about your characters' personality or the engaging world in which they're positioned.

In short, nicely done! I'll be looking forward to your future work!

darktyranitar
8th July 2007, 03:56 AM
I meant to read this earlier, but didn't have the time (either that, and I did forgot about it at one point).

Whew, that was long. But there it is. The end. Now, like Brian, I was thinking of those questions as well. Which could only mean one thing: when will you be writing the sequel?

Good job on the work; it has been one great ride. Good luck on future work, and I'll be sticking around for it.

Sike Saner
31st July 2007, 08:00 PM
Well, I've spent much of the past two days reading first A Doolittle of Pokemon and then this story, and I have to say that it's been some seriously satisfying and enjoyable reading. o.o This series is fantastic--interesting plotlines, a nice level of fantasy, great characters, staggeringly good handling of character emotions and interactions--these stories have it all. Not to mention the fact that the Pokémon characters are given just as much personality and development as the human characters, a quality I especially love to see in Pokémon fanfiction. :D

Pertaining to Knights to Remember, there were the factors of cool original Pokémon (I especially like Raitah ^^) and the awesomeness of human characters who can turn into Pokémon as well as anthro forms of Pokémon, which are also things of the sort I always enjoy seeing in Pokémon fics. ^^ The battle action was great (as was also the case with the story that preceded this one ^^). Plus, Eusine and Morty appeared in this story, and there was a Wobbuffet character and an Alakazam character! :D I do always enjoy seeing my favorite characters and favorite Pokémon in fics... ^^

But the best thing about this story, in my opinion, was the superb depiction of the rather rocky relationship between Shonta and Ryan. All its ups and downs, every circumstance that changed the way those two felt about and dealt with each other... it was all handled flawlessly and resulted in something seriously impressive and memorable, something genuinely wonderful to read.

You've done outstanding work on this series. Congratulations on the completion of two great installments so far, and I'll be sure to check out Scattered Lights soon. :)

Gavin Luper
1st August 2007, 05:12 AM
Hi, Shonta. Glad I'll be able to get a reply in before this gets closed or sent to the archive or something. Just wanted to let you know I read and finished A Doolittle of Pokemon today, and I thought it was seriously awesome: really well written, with great characterisation and a cool plot. Well done. I'll be starting on this fic as soon as I can (I'm hooked now), so I should have your review done soon.

Cheers!