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RaikouRider243
July 2nd, 2005, 05:39 PM
This is a sequel to Pokémon Origins: The Johto Saga. Enjoy! R/Rs and CC are always welcome!

Pokémon Origins: The Johto Saga
Volume II --- Return of the Beasts

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Prologue

Seven hundred years ago, in the Johto region, man had discovered the abilities and usefulness of Pokémon. Man and Pokémon at first worked together constructively, using their skills to develop technology that caused society to advance. One fateful day, a freak accident in ancient Ecruteak City caused mankind to discover the superb fighting abilities of Pokémon. Shortly after a similar accident in a large civilization located where Goldenrod City is located today, the two sides went to war, not knowing about the discoveries that the other had made.

Every day the war dragged on brought with it the loss of many human lives. Some soldiers died by fire, others by cold, others by electric shock, and still others by mysterious powers that the Pokémon had. After some time there were insufficient human forces for either side to defend against the attacks. The generals had no choice but to pit the Pokémon against each other. Their powers were much greater than anticipated, and threatened the lives of everyone in the entire region.

When it looked like the war would end in the destruction of both sides, three warriors from the west came rushing into the battle atop large beast Pokémon. The speed of these Pokémon made the cavalry units terribly slow by comparison. The three warriors attacked with their swords bearing powers of fire, lightning, and ice. Though the generals' Pokémon tried to avert the intervention, the three Beasts were too evasive and too powerful to do anything. Both sides were forced to sign an armistice, ending the potential destruction of the region. After the armistice, the three warriors vanished.

Seven hundred years later, that battle was raged once more in the land of Johto. Three college juniors interested in the legendary Pokémon of Ecruteak City would become the legendary Beast Riders, just as the warriors of centuries ago. Though it took some doing, the three young men passed the tests of the legendary Beasts of the Burned Tower, and they joined forces. They raced across the land, quenching the efforts of the Legacy Hunters, a criminal syndicate dedicated to capturing legendary Pokémon and using them to conquer the world. The Legacy Hunters had laid siege to strategic cities in the region, such as Olivine City and Goldenrod City. When the entity was about to invade Ecruteak City and take the Pokémon there, the Beast Riders rushed to the rescue and drove them all the way back to their headquarters on one of the Sevii Islands.

Ho-oh, the guardian of the legendary Beasts, flew the brave warriors to that island to exterminate the Legacy Hunters for good. Fierce battle after fierce battle raged on the island. By the time they had reached the evil leader, he was ready to capture Lugia, the guardian of the sea. Instead, the gargantuan bird turned on the leader, killing him. Continuing its rage, it tried to kill the Beasts and their riders. Defying all odds, the Beast Riders defeated Lugia with the help of Ho-oh.

After a long period of celebration, the three young warriors parted with the legendary Pokémon they had been with for so long. It brought tears to their eyes. Ho-oh was watching over the melancholy moment the entire time. It was debating whether making them part was the best thing to do.

It was a major adjustment for them to get back to the dull and ordinary routine of education, but it took little time. The experiences with the legendary Pokémon gave them the inspiration to write beautiful research papers for a related class that all of them were enrolled in. Failing to earn under an "A" on any evaluation after serving as a warrior, the three students exited the first semester of the course at the top of their class.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 1 -- New Students

It was the last weekend of inter-semester vacation for everyone at Ecruteak University. Not knowing where Ace and Aravan were, Josh was outside, sitting under a tree close to a huge, open field north of campus, reading his research paper he got back from Professor Wallace before vacation started. He was a bit depressed, missing Raikou dearly. After receiving an "A" on the paper, there would ordinarily be nothing to have a long face over. When he started to shed a few tears, Ace came blazing forward on his speedy Arcanine, while Aravan dove toward the ground on his Flygon. The two noticed Josh sitting with his head down in sorrow. Ace slowed Arcanine to a stop as Flygon landed. Both of them dismounted their Pokémon.

"Why the long face, Josh?" Ace asked.

"I miss Raikou. I was just reading the paper that Professor Wallace returned to me a while ago, and it reminded me too much of racing across the land on its back." He shed another tear. "Say, want me to have a look at your papers? We can all exchange."

"Sure, Josh. I'd love to," Ace answered.

"Me too," Aravan added. With that, they climbed atop their Pokémon and dashed off to get their papers. Josh didn't have to wait too long for them to come back. They spent an hour reviewing and commenting on each others' papers. Aravan started reminiscing about Suicune, but he shed no tears.

"My experiences with Suicune gave me the inspiration to write this. When I reread this, I was like, 'I wrote this?' It wasn't just an assignment. It was almost like a journal of my experiences with Suicune."

Ace was particularly impressed with Josh's paper. To him, it seemed poetic in describing the battles Raikou had fought centuries ago. "Josh, I wish I could write like you. You should get this published somewhere."

Josh understood where Ace was coming from, but he had no such plans. "Ace, if I got this published and it was in public domain, I couldn't get the press off my back for weeks. I hate constant media coverage. Remember when we returned from Birth Island, how many news stations there were? A lot. We attracted media from all over the Johto, Kanto, Orre, and Hoenn regions. If this research paper hit public domain, I'd freak out."

"I miss Suicune a lot, too. The first week was hard, but I think I'm over it now," Aravan said. "Say, Josh..."

"Yes?" he responded.

"Couldn't we always go back to Ho-oh and ask for Raikou again? If I remember, it said we could come visit it again if we wanted Raikou, Entei, and Suicune back again. So if you missed Raikou so much--"

"Just because we used them during a crisis and saved Johto doesn't imply we can do whatever we want with them, whenever we want," Ace interrupted. "They are legendary Pokémon, probably one of a kind in their fullest form. I don't think they are intended to be used entirely at human discretion, and certainly not for sport. It could upset the balance of nature."

Josh snapped back at Ace, starting a debate. "They love us. You heard Raikou plead with Ho-oh. You are right in the fact that they shouldn't be used totally at human discretion. But your logic implies that outside of a crisis, they should never be used, period. That's where I disagree. Though capturing the legendary Beasts could create an imbalance of power, I believe that this is an extenuating circumstance--"

"The first 'extenuating circumstance' in seven hundred years. You're really stretching it, Josh."

Aravan jumped in. "Josh, for once, I'm siding against you on an important issue. Though you both present very valid points, I don't think Ho-oh will break a tradition lasting seven hundred years. I remember the pleas of Raikou just as well as you do, Josh. If there was a good enough reason for Ho-oh to let us capture the Pokémon, it would have let us do it a long time ago."

Josh attempted to refute Aravan's points. "Something we did recently, what I have no idea, could have caused Ho-oh to change its mind. You can never know for sure. I acknowledge your opinion, and respect it. But I believe there is an extenuating circumstance that would move Ho-oh to change its mind at some point."

They continued the debate for some time into the afternoon. It ended up in a stalemate. After the debate ended, Ace offered Josh a ride on Arcanine. Josh refused, saying that it "just wouldn't be the same."

When the second semester of the Ancient Pokémon History class began, Professor Wallace introduced two new students. "This semester, we have two new students: Shalin, a sophomore, and Donovan, a senior. Please help them feel welcomed into the class." When Josh heard Professor Wallace announce Donovan's name, he cursed under his breath.

Shalin was a young, attractive lady with a gentle personality and a desire for cute Pokémon. She doesn't mind battling, but she doesn't like it either. However, cute as they may be, her Pokémon pack quite a punch.

Donovan, on the other hand, was the most feared bully on campus. Always looking for reasons to harass people, no one wants to be around him. Not afraid to curse in front of anyone except campus faculty, he was in danger of expulsion as a junior and had been in behavioral counseling on numerous occasions. Showing little to no respect for his Pokémon, he battles to demonstrate his power. He prefers to wield Dark-type Pokémon that are ferocious and powerful.

The first week of the semester went somewhat smoothly, but as the week dragged on, Donovan became jealous of how well Josh, Ace, and Aravan were doing in the class. Enmity was placed between he and the group.

On the Friday of the second week, Professor Wallace asked Aravan to share his knowledge about the Johto Legends with the class. He brought Josh and Ace up to the front of the room to assist him, and the three retold the epic story of how they saved the Johto region from the Legacy Hunters, with the help of Raikou, Entei, and Suicune. This story captured the attention of everyone in the room. Shalin was simply spellbound that the three warriors that saved Ecruteak City from utter chaos just weeks ago were in the room with her.

Donovan, however, became extremely ticked off at the three of them, particularly Josh. He blatantly interrupted the story by ranting loudly. "You have to be kidding me! Do you expect me to believe all of that horse crap?! The story of the Beast Riders was actually keeping me interested. That is, until you make the incredibly ridiculous claim that you are those warriors. That's a **** lie, I tell you! A **** lie!"

"Donovan, either behave yourself or leave now," the professor warned.

"Shut up!!" Turning back to Josh, he continued his rant. "There is plenty of support for the story itself. But your claims are so absurd, it's stupid! All three of you should stick your lame stories up your asses, where they belong! You should toss all of that garbage in the trash can before I have to toss you!"

When Donovan had told Professor Wallace to "shut up," the scholar quietly paged for someone from the administration to escort him out of the classroom. By the time he had finished, that staff member had arrived. "Donovan, please come with me." Knowing his limits, he followed the adult to the main office, where disciplinary measures were taken.

After Donovan was removed from the room, Professor Wallace apologized for the interruption, then class continued as normal. When class was dismissed, Donovan was waiting outside the room for Josh, Ace, and Aravan. He caught them talking together, and slapped each of them very hard in the right arm. After physically and verbally abusing each other for a couple of minutes, Josh offered a solution.

"This isn't doing us any good," he said. "How about we settle this with a Pokémon battle. Us versus you. Three of your Pokémon versus one of each of ours."

Donovan liked the idea. "Meet me outside the football field at five PM. Chicken out and you'll suffer the consequences. So I'd better see all of your sorry faces over there at that time."

Aravan was concerned. "Why should we battle him? He'll be a cheat!" he quietly said to Josh.

Josh whispered back to both Aravan and Ace, "I know he'll probably cheat, but it's better than getting beaten by him." Speaking aloud to Donovan, he said, "Agreed. We will be there at five PM, sharp. And I assure you, we will not be late."

"Better not be," Donovan snapped.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Feraligatr master
July 5th, 2005, 10:22 AM
cool i just looked at the first one it was cool
i hope this one is gunna be better than the first
post the next chapter please i can't wait

RaikouRider243
July 6th, 2005, 07:10 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 2: The Bully's Bullies

A low-pitched bell sounded five times. Josh, Ace, Aravan, and Donovan were ready to battle. "I'll go first," Josh volunteered. "This is an excellent opportunity to test out my REBS Module."

"What's that?" Aravan asked.

"It's a project for a programming class I'm in. It attaches a computer chip to a Pokémon, then sends battle information back to the receiving unit in my left hand. Manectric, you're up!" Josh released Manectric from its Poké Ball. The Pokémon was ready for battle. He turned the device on.

"What does REBS stand for?" Ace asked.

"Real-time Emulated Battle Stat Module," Josh responded. "When I turned on this receptor unit, the chip attached to Manectric activated, and look at what appeared on the screen." Josh pointed to several displayed items on the screen. "This green bar is the Pokémon's life force. If Manectric gets hurt, the bar becomes shorter. Over here, it shows certain attributes like offensive power, defensive strength, and electrical levels. Basically, this thing shows me exactly how my Pokémon is doing in battle."

"Wow," Ace said. "That's cool."

"Enough chit-chat, boys, we're starting! Magmar, you're on! Burn!!" At that, Donovan released Magmar, a fire-type, human-shaped Pokémon with a flaming body and tail.

Manectric opened up with a biting attack at Magmar's chest. It evaded the assault and countered with a flaming punch. The attack brushed Manectric's right side, crediting Magmar with the first successful attack of the battle. On Josh's screen, a red "39" appeared in front of the picture of Manectric, then faded. The green bar became a shorter yellow-green bar. "Good," Josh said to himself. "That's working as planned." He then yelled for Manectric. "Counter with a Thunderbolt!" The electric Pokémon launched a close-range electric shot toward Magmar. Donovan's Pokémon took considerable damage, but recovered quickly.

Going for a combo attack, Manectric tried biting at the chest again. Magmar rolled to the left and spewed a large burst of fire from its mouth. Josh's Pokémon dodged most of it, but it got caught in the rear legs. The yellow-green bar shortened and turned amber. Josh knew it was running out of energy.

Manectric, knowing it was running out of stamina, backed away and fired another Thunderbolt. Donovan just laughed. "That's not going to work again, Josh. Magmar, Smokescreen!" After evading the electric assault, the fire Pokémon covered the arena with a thick smoke. "Let's see you deal with that!" Under the cover of the smoke, Magmar ran toward Manectric and tried slashing with its claws. The electric-type saw the attacker just in time, and hopped backward.

"Pick up on its scent!" Josh suggested. Relying on its sense of smell, Manectric shot another Thunderbolt at the hidden foe. Not knowing where the attack was coming from, Magmar panicked and was directly hit by the attack. That was the end of the round.

The second round was a duel between Ace's Typhlosion and Donovan's Crawdaunt. Ace started chuckling. "What the hell's so funny, dork? You're about to be destroyed?" Donovan asked sarcastically.

"The joke's on you," Ace replied, still chuckling. "You'll see."

Crawdaunt waited for the attack. Typhlosion came on strong with a slashing attack. The enemy Pokémon attacked with its Crab Hammer. Both attacks missed. The battle was going nowhere, until...

"Typhlosion, use the secret weapon!" At that, Ace's Pokémon threw a low electrical punch, landing a crushing blow. Crawdaunt fell with just one hit.

"It's over," Aravan noted to Donovan. "We've won two out of three rounds. You don't have to put your Pokémon through any more pain. The match is over."

"I don't care! Your turn, Tauros!"

Aravan used Flygon against the bull Pokémon. This battle was very fast as well. With no way to jump, Donovan's Pokémon could not reach Flygon. Soaring high into the air, far away from its opponent, the dragon dove into the ground, creating a brief 6.5 earthquake. "There's nothing you can do, Donovan. Tauros can't reach Flygon. It's over. Save it some pain and surrender," Aravan asked him.

"No! Never!" Donovan hollered.

"Very well." At that, Aravan's Pokémon soared once more and came crashing into the ground, causing another 6.5 earthquake. Donovan had lost all three rounds of the match. Recalling Tauros, he went into a furious rage.

"This is still no reason to believe you are warriors! Mark my words, I will get stronger. I will obtain a power you cannot comprehend, and use it to destroy all of you! You hear me?! The next time we battle, you'll wish you were in hell!!" At that, the defeated trainer stomped off in disgust. Shalin stepped forward.

"You guys are so brave, standing up to him like that!" she said in admiration.

"Thank you," Ace said.

"In class, you tried to tell how you saved Johto by joining forces with the legendary Pokémon. What was that like?" she asked.

"Let's do this in some other place," Ace responded. "I'm a little tired from that battle."

"How about in my room?" Josh suggested.

Shalin was delighted at the idea. "Thanks, Josh!"

That evening, just before six, they all arrived at Josh's room. It was a little cramped for four people, but they made do.

"Josh, what was it like for you to control that legendary Pokémon?"

He didn't know where to start. "It's an experience unlike any other, that's for certain. I miss everything about Raikou. Legendary Pokémon can communicate directly with the minds of chosen people. I was chosen to control Raikou. The part I enjoyed the most was riding like the wind across that big field north of campus. When I was riding Raikou, all the scenery around me was a large blur. I felt wild and free, as if I had become one with Raikou. Ace knows this better than I do, but if you've ever ridden Arcanine in Extremespeed, you know you're going very fast. I've done that before, and it is quite the experience. But it's not the same as Raikou. When you jump on Raikou and speed off into the distance, there is this feeling of power, speed, and thrills that you can't get from Arcanine." Shalin didn't know how to respond. Josh continued.

"Also, being a swordsman for a while was interesting. Those fencing lessons I took as a kid got a lot of use when I was a Raikou Rider. It was no ordinary sword, either. It was a yellow, lightning-shaped blade enhanced with Raikou's electricity. It was a weapon to be feared, and I used it to the best of my ability."

Aravan added some of his experiences. "Riding Suicune was nothing short of awesome. I'd ridden Pokémon before, but nothing like this. The way Suicune runs, you don't feel all the wind resistance you should, yet you're still racing forward so fast, no ordinary land Pokémon is going to catch you. Suicune's so fast that it can run on water. No need for it to swim, it can just run over the water."

Hearing all of this, Shalin was simply amazed at the experiences described. She knew that both of them were lost for words. "I wish I could become a Beast Rider," she said. "It sounds like the most awesome experience in the world! But I'll never get a chance." They discussed the Beasts for another hour, then all three guests left, each for their own rooms.

After Josh finished eating dinner, a severe thunderstorm came rolling into the area. The howling winds sounded through the windows, which Josh promptly closed. The thunder was terribly loud, and subtly reminded Josh of Raikou's roar. It kept him awake for longer than he wanted. When he drifted off to sleep, he had a terrible nightmare. Donovan had grown much stronger, and had a set of completely new Pokémon. The former Raikou Rider was getting terribly slaughtered in battle.

"Salamence! Finish this!" Donovan yelled. The flying dragon dove straight into the now-defenseless Charmeleon. When the diving slash connected with amazing accuracy, Charmeleon sounded an ear-piercing scream of pain. The fiery lizard was critically wounded. Josh ran up to his Pokémon, ready to tend to its wounds. "You soft-hearted boy! You'll never win like that! In fact, go to hell right now! Finish off Josh!!"

The dragon took flight once more, setting its eyes on Josh. When Donovan's Pokémon was about to collide with its target, the thought of death woke him up, heart beating fast. "What a terrible nightmare!" Josh said to himself. He tried to go back to sleep, but he couldn't; nor could he stop thinking about Donovan. "This is just like last time. Something's not right with this Donovan guy."

Taking his five Pokémon with him, Josh quietly left his room and locked the door. Carefully setting his foot down on the tile floor every step of the way, Josh knew he had to be stealthy in exiting the building. Slowly going down the stairs to the ground floor, Josh's heartbeat remained high. If he were caught prowling the halls at night, there would be big trouble for him. Luckily for him, there were no staff members roaming the hallways. Stealthily opening and closing the exit door, Josh successfully made it out of the building. It was about half past three.

"Whew! I made it. Now time to get out of here." At that, Josh released Pidgeot from its Poké Ball. The Pokémon was silent upon coming out, as per its trainer's request. Josh climbed between the eagle's wings and soared off toward the peak of Tin Tower.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Next chapter, everything will be explained clearly. This is a hard chapter to understand plotwise, but it sets up the next.

Alana
July 8th, 2005, 10:04 PM
I can see this fic is going ot be as good, if not better than the last one. Like your first fan fiction I didn't see any grammer or spelling mistakes. I don't like Donovan. I don't know who would. I hope Josh, Ace, adn Aravan take him out again. But I feel sorry for his Pokemon. I can't wait until Raikou, Suicune, and Entei return. Keep writing adn post the next chapter soon. I'll be here waiting. *Gets out a book and bag of chips then sits in a corner and waits for the next chapter.*

RaikouRider243
July 10th, 2005, 05:17 AM
Chapter 3: Josh's Night Ride

The long flight to Tin Tower seemed to take forever. By the time Josh arrived at the peak, it was nearly four in the morning. A surprised Ho-oh saw Josh coming to the tower, probably to discuss something disturbing enough to interrupt his sleep.

"Josh! Long time no see, Raikou Rider. What brings you up here alone in the middle of the night?"

"Ever since this...er, yesterday morning in class, something's been weighing heavily on my mind, and it isn't good. I never told you about Donovan, the big bully on the college campus, did I?"

"No, I don't recall that name."

"He's only been a problem to me since yesterday morning. When Aravan, Ace, and I shared the story of how we saved Johto with your help, Donovan went absolutely berserk in class, with no regard for anyone else. He shouted and cursed at us for a long time, and the professor had to remove him from the room before we could continue. After class, he came just outside the room and beat us up. I suggested the three of us battle him to settle things, and we defeated him handily. He went off ranting and swearing again, claiming that he would come back with a power unimaginable. This brings me to why I came here.

I had a horrible nightmare just a couple of hours ago. I was battling Donovan alone, and he was destroying my team, causing them more pain than necessary. After taking down my last Pokémon, his Salamence went after me. That's when I woke, and I couldn't get back to sleep for the rest of the night. Something isn't right about Donovan. I think he's going to try to kill me before dealing with Ace or Aravan. He'll probably want their heads, too. Based on these circumstances, I have a request. Since Raikou knows me well...so well that I'm almost its 'trainer,' so to speak, would you let me keep Raikou on a more permanent basis? I think it's time to let go of the past and move on to the present, O great rainbow Pokémon. Please grant this request."

Recalling the moment when Josh left Raikou before, it was a great decision for Ho-oh to make. Either option would pose a great risk to the future of the Beast Riders. After deliberating with itself for nearly ten minutes, it finally came to a decision. "Josh, Raikou Rider...I trust you. I will allow you to keep Raikou indefinitely, at my discretion. You are free to do whatever you want to do with it within reason, on the following two conditions. First, you cannot capture Raikou in a Poké Ball, and second, you cannot tell Ace, Aravan, or anyone that this is on a more permanent basis. Is that understood?"

"Thank you so much. And I do agree to your conditions. Second question: what is this dark power you've been sensing all along?"

"The story of the legendary Beasts has two sides to it. Humans know only of one side. I shall now reveal to you the other side of the story of the legendary Beasts. Listen closely, Josh."

"I'm all ears."

"In addition to the ones you already know about, there were three more legendary Beasts that existed. Only one, though, lived in the Burned Tower. The other two, even I don't know how they came to be or where they originated. But I do know this: one of them carried with it powers of Light, and the other Darkness. They were much, much stronger than any of the Beasts you know today, Josh. The Beast of Life, Zoltin, was a white, griffinlike creature with lavender spots over its fur. It was also quite small compared to its fellow Beasts. It was a slow runner compared to its cousins as well, but that was not where its strength was contained. It had large wings at each of its sides. By jumping high and flapping its wings, it could run through the air as fast as your Beast runs across land.

Boasting a lustrous mane and a long, thin tail, Zoltin clearly had the looks of a holy Beast. It had the ability to curb the evil and bring out the good of the human heart. Though it was extremely strong, it was extremely loving and kind. It would submit to one whose heart it deemed pure. That one could ride Zoltin across the skies at speeds like that of your Raikou on land.

Zoltin's only enemy was the Beast of Death, Akuji. It was a black, evil-looking Beast much larger than Entei. Its eyes were more blood-red than Raikou's. It possessed a red saliva that looked just like blood. One of its handicaps was a lack of endurance for running. However, it was an excellent sprinter. Think about how fast you raced Raikou in that open field the one day after the Legacy Hunters left Johto, Josh. When sprinting in Extremespeed, Akuji could run at double that speed for about a minute. Nothing bound to the ground could escape it."

"No way. Nothing can run that fast," Josh remarked in disbelief.

"That's what was written down long ago. It had large claws on all four of its paws, as well as a sharp hook on the end of its tail. Also boasting twin horns on its forehead, it was the most savage creature you can imagine. Its objective was to show its self-proclaimed superiority to all creatures, as if it were a god. It had the intent to destroy all things opposed to it. It acted toward humans in an exact opposite manner to Zoltin: it would only submit to humans who have a sincere desire to turn evil. Often times, though, in the end, Akuji would use the human merely as a puppet to fuel its own evil desires."

"Did anyone ever ride on its back? It sounds too fast to be ridden. Raikou's Extremespeed I can handle. But nearly double that, no way. I'd fall off and die from the incredible force of the crash."

"Out of the many evil masters who tried to ride Akuji, only one succeeded. And he had little to no control over it. He was just along for the ride."

"Little wonder Akuji was so feared. Anyway, what happened that caused them to disappear?"

"The two great creatures of Life and Death fought each other for a very long time, trying to sway the human population over to their respective sides. Despite the tremendous effort put forth by both of them, the battle continued to be a stalemate, accompanied by the piling up of lost lives, both human and Pokémon. One late afternoon, I met up with Lugia to discuss what we could do about Akuji and Zoltin. We tried countless methods to curb their powers, yet still let them roam the world. Nothing worked, and the devastation continued to increase. It was a painful decision, but we had no choice but to seal the two Beasts away in a secret location of the Johto region. It took nearly all of our power to do it. We sealed Akuji and Zoltin away successfully, and the seal was to last for all time. Unfortunately, we sealed away an innocent Beast with them. The Beast of Birth, Midori. She had power over plants, being a Grass-type."

"That completes the circle. Raikou of the Thunder has dominance over Suicune of the Water, who has dominance over Entei of the Flames. With this information you have given me, Entei has dominance over Midori, who has dominance over Raikou. It makes perfect sense now. What did she look like?"

"She slightly resembled Suicune in body shape. She had dark green fur with light green spots all over. Carrying strong vines on her back, she could strangle foes with them, among other things. If frightened, she would secrete a deadly toxin from her fur. Her ways of attacking were with the poison, the vines, or the spiked club at the end of her tail. She was a timid but gentle Beast. Being significantly smaller than Suicune but larger than Zoltin, Midori easily hid in jungles and wooded lands to hide from danger."

"Wait. I have a number of questions. Am I correct in assuming that Midori got seperated from Raikou, Entei, and Suicune, and that's possibly why she was accidentally sealed away?"

"Yes, Josh. That is correct."

"I see why you had to lock up Akuji. But why seal Zoltin with it? There's no reason to do that. If Zoltin were to roam the world, look at all of the problems it would solve. There would be no wars, you know the rest."

"We only had a short window of opportunity, and we had to get Akuji out of the world. We couldn't isolate one enough to seal it completely. Having no choice, we sealed both of them away. But it was perhaps for the better. If one was allowed to roam the world, the delicate balance of nature would be greatly upset, and the Johto region--no, the world--would be thrown into utter chaos."

"Do you know what kind of people Akuji's alleged 'controllers' were? Very cruel, I imagine."

"Oh, they were absoultely ruthless people, many of them already having dictator-like powers. Their lust for power drew them toward Akuji, and they turned the human population toward the evil man's desires. The Beast was pure evil. No human could fully master it. One person came close, and that was the only man to ride on its back. Even he could not control the sprinting Beast. He was lucky he survived."

"Donovan's virtually a dictator on campus...you think he could control it?"

"Josh, I wouldn't put it past him. Though young, he is a very evil man. I could not see the light that remains in his heart; it is shrouded by a dark veil. He ranks with some of the best controllers of Akuji in the history of mankind. I wouldn't put anything past him. Stay away from him for now; I sense nothing but evil actions and thoughts from him now."

"This can't be just coincidence. Something's up with Donovan, and its scope extends beyond bullying. I think this is a life-threatening development. This is why I wanted Raikou back."

"Josh, you have grown up so much in such a short time. Ever since a few days ago, the power behind the seal has been rapidly growing. I don't know how long it will last. It's containing the power for now, but I don't know how much more power it can stop before the seal starts melting. Josh, go tell your friends about this, and get them up here to discuss this development. Anytime this morning will be fine, but you should let them sleep first."

"I'll get them here. I'm going to fly to the Burned Tower to get Raikou, then head back to campus and tell them what's going on." At that, he sent out Pidgeot, jumped on, and took off for the Burned Tower, a good distance to the west.

As the Raikou Rider flew off, Ho-oh continued to think about what was about to happen. "It is inevitable. Donovan will break the seal on Akuji. It's only a matter of time. Complicating matters, he is destined to become the first Beast Rider of Death. I have little choice. I have to tell Josh, Ace, and Aravan where Zoltin and Midori are sealed. But I can't do that until the chosen girl realizes her destiny..."

Arriving at the tower, Josh was excited to meet Raikou again. It was standing up in the center of the main floor, apparently expecting him. Entei and Suicune were nowhere in sight.

"Raikou!!" Josh screamed joyously as he ran for his Beast of Thunder.

"It's been terrible without you, Josh. I missed you dearly. It felt like you abandoned me. But hopefully, we won't have to worry about this again. I heard everything Ho-oh said. I am excited as you are to be a permanent ally with you. Ever since we parted, things have been incredibly routine, to the point where they've become boring. I am relieved that you came. Want to go for a ride, Josh? I'll take you back to where you wanted to go."

"You didn't even have to ask. Of course I want to go for a ride!" At that, Josh mounted Raikou for the first time in many weeks. "Just like old times. Raikou, let's go!" The yellow Beast dashed out of the tower. Considering that it had been a while since the two of them had been out, Josh handled Raikou beautifully. It accelerated more slowly than usual to make sure the rider would not fall off. This day would most certainly be a long and draining one for Josh.
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alana
July 10th, 2005, 10:54 AM
New Pokemon. I think they look cool. Great job. Spelling and grammer, well I dunno why I keep bothering to say there were no mistakes that I could see. ^_^ I can't wait for the next chapter. The chosen girl, I think I know who it is. She doesn't seem to be the right type for a Beast Rider but I don't know much about her yet. I'll wait and see before I judge. Please post the next chapter soon.

RaikouRider243
July 11th, 2005, 11:10 AM
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 4: Class Reunion

Going out on Raikou for the first time in months evoked some euphoric flashbacks in Josh's mind, including the first time he rode and the first time he rode at full speed. Forgetting about the mission Ho-oh gave him, Josh spent most of the morning with Raikou and the rest of his Pokémon. It only took him less than an hour to remember the techniques he had developed for holding on to, and controlling, the ultra-fast Legend of Thunder.

Practicing them took about the same amount of time. Looking for new thrills, he pushed Raikou to its maximum speed of 220 miles per hour, then had it jump. The yellow Pokémon leaped into the air, easily reaching a height of several times its own. It did not slow its lateral speed when jumping, and even increased its speed on the way back down. When the Beast landed, the force of the impact loosened Josh's grip on it. It came out of the jump in Extremespeed, just like it did during that memorable race.

After giving his other Pokémon a chance to play, Josh and Raikou returned to the campus, ready to relay the news to the other Beast Riders and Shalin. They were lined up at the campus entrance, with every pair of arms crossed.

Aravan was particularly angry at Josh's absence. Completely ignoring Raikou, he yelled, "Josh! Where have you been? I never saw you this morning at all!"

Shalin immediately noticed Raikou and came closer to Josh. "That's Raikou, isn't it? I was right to trust your story. You really are the Raikou Rider in the legend. I wanna climb up there with you, Josh! Can I?"

Unable to resist the girl's request, Josh approved of it. A confused Legend of Thunder wondered why he would do something like that.

"Josh, what is the meaning of this?" Raikou questioned. "I did not know that someone else was involved here. So why are you letting her onto my back?"

"Raikou, she's harmless, and she's wanted to do this for some time. Just let it go."

"She'll get her chance, just not now. Now would you tell her to go away?"

"Oh...come on, Raikou, just for a short distance, even? It's not like she'll be replacing me or something. She just wants the experience."

Raikou didn't like it, but the Beast gave in to Josh's request. "...All right, Josh. Very well. But not for very long, and this idea of letting ordinary people go for a joyride better not become habit."

"Thank you so much, Raikou. I appreciate it." Turning back to Shalin, he asked, "Are you ready?"

"You bet." The rider helped Shalin get on the Legend of Thunder, but they didn't go anywhere. "When will we take off?" she asked.

"Shortly," Josh whispered. He began to speak to Ace and Aravan aloud. "Shalin wants to ride with me. We won't be long. Wait for us in the computer lab. That's where I'll tell you about why I was gone."

After the two of them started to walk off, Josh asked Shalin, "Ready?"

"Of course! Let's get going!"

At that, Raikou started running at a brisk pace. Josh had Raikou run around the edge of campus, turning when he passed the computer lab. He gradually sped the Beast up as they rounded the edge of the property. Shalin didn't make any loud noises; she was just giggling much of the time Raikou was speeding up. It got as fast as eighty miles per hour before slowing to a stop in front of the lab building. "So, Shalin," Josh began, "how was it?"

Shalin was still giggling from riding a legendary Beast. "It was great. I'm even more jealous of you now, Josh!" With that, she started giggling louder for a few seconds. Josh laughed with her as they entered the lab. Ace and Aravan were waiting in the main foyer. "Follow us," they said. Making their way to an unused lab on the second floor, they started the discussion.

"Before we start talking," Aravan suggested, "we should have someone make a copy of what we say."

"Aravan, that's an excellent idea," Josh noted. "I'm a fast typer, so I will record the conversation. I'll be at a computer close to that table in back. Let's go over there." The four of them slowly walked to the back of the room. Ace, Aravan, and Shalin sat on the side of the table farther from Josh; that way, they would face him and his workstation. Josh logged into the network and pulled up a text editor. The conversation began.

(Cue Music: "The Debate" - Legend of Dragoon)

"We have all the time we need," Josh began. "The purpose of this discussion is to discuss my conversation with Ho-oh before sunrise this morning."

"That explains everything," Ace responded almost immediately. "Now I understand why I couldn't find you on campus this morning. You were gone. How did you manage to sneak out?"

Josh thought about the question as he continued typing. "Well, I was quiet as a Whismur. I made barely any noise in sneaking out of the building. Besides, there was no one prowling the hallways that evening. So after I got out, I had Pidgeot fly me to the top of Tin Tower, where Ho-oh was surprised to see me at such an hour."

"Did Ho-oh give you Raikou?" Shalin asked. "Gee, that rhymes..." Everyone chuckled at her observation.

"Yes, it did."

"Why would it just do that for no reason?" she asked him again.

The keyboard tapping continued. "There was a reason. I explained all the events with Donovan yesterday, and it talked about the growth of an alleged 'dark power' behind a 'seal'. I compared it with the words and actions of Donovan, and found clues pointing towards a connection."

All three of them dropped their jaws. Ace could only utter the word "How?" and nothing more. It was a shocker to everyone there. No one thought Donovan would do something as rash as this.

"I felt exactly the same way when I thought of it. And what Raikou and I reasoned together was even more of a shocker. Just as the power of Lightning called out to me, the power of Darkness will call out to him. How this will happen or play out, I do not know."

"Dammit," Aravan blurted out, "I knew something wasn't right about him that was more than just bullying."

"I believe that his actions extend far beyond the scope of mere bullying," Josh added. "This brings me to my next point. When Ho-oh talked about this 'dark power', it also told me about the other side of the legend...and three new Beasts."

Shalin sat still after hearing this radical idea. She was hiding something. Aravan yelled, "How long have you been hiding this, Josh?!"

Ace tried to say something. "Josh, that's..."

"As hard as it is to believe," the Raikou Rider resumed, "it's exactly what Ho-oh said. There are three more Beasts previously unknown to man: Midori of Birth, Zoltin of Life, and Akuji of Death."

"WHAT?!" Aravan hollered again.

"Then...Donovan's..." Ace tried to deduce something about Donovan, but was too scared to say anything.

"Precisely, Ace. When he discovers his calling, Donovan will be after the Dark Beast, Akuji. Ho-oh described it as a huge lion similar to Entei, but larger and black almost all over. Possessing traits of pure evil, it could put a veil over the good in the hearts of those close by. What makes Akuji different from the other Beasts is that it's a sprinter. Ace, Aravan, do you remember the race during the day prior to the one when we had to leave our Beasts?"

"Yes, I do," both of them replied.

"Well, remember how fast we went before we had them use Extremespeed? It was...well, really fast, right? Well, Akuji's Extremespeed sprint is twice as fast."

Shalin was quiet, still hiding something. It was clearly of importance, but she kept it secret mainly out of fear. Ace and Aravan were in utter disbelief.

"No. There is no way that anything can run that fast without some help," Aravan argued. "It's just not physiologically possible."

Ace tried to break it up with some sarcasm. "Josh, have you been smoking crack or something?"

"Watch it..." Josh responded threateningly. He paused, then his tone of voice became normal again. "No, Ace, I don't do drugs. I know it's hard to believe that something can run that fast, but that's what Ho-oh told me. On to the others. Zoltin, the Beast of Life, was small. From what I heard, about five feet tall. It didn't run very fast, but it had a remarkable ability that made it incredibly quick. It could jump into the air and fly using the large, white wings on both sides of its body. When it flew, it flapped its wings, as you would expect. However, it used them only to fly higher or faster. It could run through the air without flapping its wings at all, and it could run through the air as fast as Raikou runs on land. Zoltin and Akuji fought a vicious war, so Lugia and Ho-oh sealed them away."

"Wow!" Aravan exclaimed. "A flying Beast?"

"If only it were here. I'd want to ride something like that!" Ace added.

Shalin finally spoke for the first time in nearly fifteen minutes. "What about the last one?" she asked.

"Ah, yes. Midori. She was associated with Raikou, Entei, and Suicune for the longest time, until she was accidentally sealed away with Zoltin and Akuji. She was a Grass-type, larger than Zoltin but smaller than Raikou. She had dark green fur that could secrete a powerful toxin if it became necessary. Her tail had a spiked club on the edge for bashing enemies. Much like Raikou carries thunderclouds, Midori carried vines on her back to hit her foes hard. She was a very gentle and shy Beast. She would run away from most humans at first sight, but would approach humans that she deciphered to be harmless to her."

All of a sudden, Shalin's pupils became a little bit dilated, and she fell sideways. Josh jumped out of his seat and rushed toward her. "Shalin! Are you all right?!" he asked out of grave concern."

Ace checked her pulse. "Her pulse and vital signs are all functioning properly. She'll be fine when she wakes up. She isn't physically unconscious. I think she has lost mental consciousness. Something about describing Midori might have caused this. There's nothing we can do now except wait."

The other two Beast Riders signed into nearby workstations and entertained themselves for the next forty minutes. After that, Shalin woke up. Her eyes had been opened to the truth after hearing Midori's name. She had been receiving a vision.

Shalin asked for everyone's attention. "Guys, I remember everything now." Her tone of voice had changed dramatically from before. She now sounded more like an adult than a child.

"Remember what?" Josh asked.

"Who I am, and what I'm supposed to be. When I passed out, I had this vision. A creature that looked just like Midori was speaking to me. She said that I was bound to be her wielder for the rest of my life."

"Huh?! What else did you see?" Josh demanded.

"She said some other stuff to me that made absolutely no sense at all, then she left. That's what happened just now. I now know what I need to do. Josh, take me to Ho-oh. From there, everything will be clear. Just take me there."

Josh logged out of the computer. "Later today. I'm going to take a nap. I'm tired."

"Fine. Late this afternoon, you must take me to Ho-oh."

"All right, already, Shalin! Let me print this stuff out, then we can leave!" Josh entered commands into the computer that would send the printer for pickup. After the printer stopped printing pages, the Raikou Rider walked to the other side of the room, where the printer was. He picked up the short stack of pages, folded them, and placed them in his pocket.

Josh rushed out of the building, mounted Raikou, and sped back to his room. He knew that the quicker he got back to sleep, the earlier he would wake up, and consequently, the earlier he would be able to take Shalin to Ho-oh.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alana
July 14th, 2005, 08:32 PM
Sorry the reply took so long. I thought it'd be Shalin. Well that's pretty cool. Hmm five beaast riders and one beast left riderless. Well maybe Zoltin will get a rider later in the fic. I'll wait and see. I like the name you chose for the grass legend. Midori, green. It suits her. Now I wait for the next chapter. Wake Josh up quickly ok. ^_^

RaikouRider243
July 15th, 2005, 10:49 AM
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 5 --- Completing the Circle

Josh woke from his long nap about an hour and a half before sunset. Looking outside his dorm window, he saw Ace and Aravan participating in a Pokémon battle, with Shalin watching the two of them. He changed into a knock-around attire before leaving the building. Outside, Josh woke Raikou up. "Is it time to go, Josh?" the Beast asked him.

"Yes. Can Shalin ride with me again to our destination?"

"Josh, you did not listen to me this morning. This is starting to become a habit."

"It isn't a joyride this time, Raikou. We have business! Shalin needs to get to Tin Tower, just as I promised her."

Raikou was clearly disgusted at Josh's treatment of Shalin. "Only because we're on a mission for her. She acted like a little girl the last time. She thought I was a friendly, happy Beast that she could ride like a horse. It's time for her to realize that not everything in this world is childish."

"Shalin's changed since this morning. She's a lot more mature now."

"I'll believe it when I see it. Josh, let's get out of here." Without a command from Josh, Raikou rushed across the campus to where his rider's friends were playing.

"It's time to go," the rider told them. The two trainers recalled their Jolteon and Ponyta, then sent out Flygon and Arcanine. They mounted their Pokémon, ready to go. Shalin slowly walked over to Raikou. Josh helped her onto the Beast's back as Ace and Aravan set off for Tin Tower, to the east. Raikou followed behind them.

========================

Raikou and Arcanine had to run up the spiraling walkway that led to the top of the tower. Flygon simply landed at the top of the tower, as Aravan waited for the others to arrive. A few minutes later, Raikou surfaced to the peak of the tower, with Arcanine following close by. All four of them remained atop their Pokémon as Ho-oh began to speak.

Cue Music: "The Debate" - Legend of Dragoon

"So it is this young girl that is destined to wield the powers of Midori?"

Shalin spoke up. "Yes, Ho-oh. I am Shalin, the one you speak of. Where is Midori now, so that we can meet each other?"

"Sealed away at the Royal Capital Kadessa, which is at the heart of the Forbidden Land. You know that there is a large mountain range all on the northern edge of the region, right?"

"Yes," she replied.

"There is a vast desert on the other side of the range. Back before the powers of Pokémon went unchecked, there was a metropolis in the middle of that desert. They were an incredibly advanced society; they were so advanced that they became the social, economic, and military center of the world. When they got their hands on Akuji, the rulers there became tyrants, killing thousands of innocent people. A number of victims were pitted against Akuji and other strong Pokémon in a colosseum. The Pokémon always won the battle, as the human had to fight with his bare hands. After Akuji destroyed a number of enemies, Zoltin swooped down on the capital city, and that's where the fight between Zoltin and Akuji started. By the time Lugia and I sealed them, and unfortunately Midori as well, much of the city was demolished, and the population wiped out. As time passed, the ruins of the city sunk into the sands. Now, in the Forbidden Land, there is a terrible heat. Most Pokémon cannot cross the desert to reach Kadessa."

"So it is true then," Aravan started. "Shalin really will become a Beast Rider, just like us."

"To cross the Forbidden Land, you will need Entei and Suicune to assist you. I told Josh not to tell you this, but I have given him Raikou on a more permanent basis. The same will apply to you two, but with Entei and Suicune. You are free to do whatever you want to do with it within reason, on the following condition: you cannot use a Poké Ball to capture it. That, and the agreement that I can claim them from you again if I see it truly necessary, are your only two restrictions. You can use Entei and Suicune like you do your other Pokémon. It's totally up to you, within the bounds I have set. Now, Josh, guide them to the Burned Tower. I wish to speak with Shalin privately about Midori."

"All right," Josh said. "I will do as you please. Shalin, you need to get off Raikou. I need it to take me to the Burned Tower, and you need to stay here."

"Okay, Josh. It was another great ride up here!" At that, she jumped off. Raikou and Arcanine ran back the way they came, exiting the tower in Extremespeed. Aravan and Flygon watched them speeding away from the tower for a while before he asked Flygon to take flight and follow them. It spread its wings, then dove from the top of the tower. Levelling out its body, Flygon's wings gained lift as it started to fly toward the ruins.

"Now that we're alone," the rainbow-colored bird resumed, "I want to discuss this meeting up with Midori that will take place. You must realize that this could be very dangerous. If you are willing to face these risks, I will give you a ride to Kadessa once Josh, Ace, and Aravan get back here."

"I'm not afraid of this. I want to meet Midori. I want to see her with my own eyes," Shalin confirmed. Ho-oh lowered its neck.

"Climb up here and slide down my neck. I'll fly you down to the foot of the tower." She slowly climbed atop Ho-oh, and slid down its neck. The two-story rainbow bird took flight from the top of the tower, making a slow, circling descent to the ground. The moving air blew Shalin's fine hair around. They flew around the area for some time, planning to continue until the others returned.

Cut Music

============================

Meanwhile, Josh and Ace entered the tower before Aravan made it. Making their way to the basement, they saw that Entei and Suicune were waiting for them down there. Ace ran up to Entei and tried to put his arms around the Legend of Fire. "Entei! I missed you!" Seeing Ace try to hug the huge, crimson lion brought out joyful tears in Josh's eyes.

"I missed you too," the Beast responded. "We all missed you. Where's Aravan?"

"Still on his way here." Right when he said that, Aravan entered the chamber. Suicune's crystal started glowing a bright blue. The big, sky-blue cheetah knew Aravan couldn't wait to ride once more.

"Aravan, it's great to see you again. We all missed you." Knowing the reunion party would not last long, Josh went back upstairs and remounted Raikou. He was ready to go. After a short few minutes, the three of them, all astride their Beasts, assembled outside the ruins. Ho-oh, carrying Shalin between its huge wings, landed right next to them.

"I see you are ready. Let's go." Ho-oh led the way as the Beasts followed the mountain path to the other side of the range, where the Forbidden Land was located. There was a large increase in temperature after the first half-mile into the desert. Conserving their Beasts' energy for the whole trip, they slowed down to just over 120 miles per hour, a running speed they weren't used to for swift travel. Flying high gave Ho-oh the ability to keep up with the Beasts. After a long trip through the desert heat, the Beast Riders came to the ruins of Kadessa as Ho-oh descended to a low altitude.

"Let me take care of this. Shalin, hold on tight." The legendary bird shot a Sacred Fire spray at the door, causing it to slide to the left. Inside was the main worship temple that the inhabitants of Kadessa used to pay tribute to their gods, reincarnated as legendary Pokémon. The large bricks used to build it had corroded little over the centuries, but the mysterious place still looked ancient. The place was so large that Ho-oh could walk inside.

Cue Music: "Royal Capital Kadessa"

"We're looking for a large room with three sealed doors. Behind each one is one of the legendary Pokémon we sealed away long ago. We go for the one on the left. The innocent Beast of Birth, Midori, is behind there. Watch where you step. This place is riddled with traps to prevent people from doing too much exploring. If a tile seems out of place, do not step on it. We cannot afford any risks."

There were indeed many loose tiles in the narrow passageways. The four friends looked down at their feet when they stepped. Slowly, but steadily, they crossed the series of narrow hallways, and emerged in the main chamber. Ho-oh and Shalin advanced toward the sealed chamber on the left. On the sealed door was a carving in the shape of a leaf. "Stand close to me," Ho-oh asked Shalin. She stood just in front of the bird's blue legs. It filled the outline of the leaf with amazingly precise bursts of Sacred Fire. The sealed door slowly slid to the left, revealing a black vortex. Out of the vortex jumped a large, dark green Beast at blinding speed. The Grass-type creature rushed out of the chamber, accidentally tackling Shalin in the process.

"Shalin!!" Ace yelled for his friend. Without Aravan even asking, Suicune shot a refreshing blue beam at Shalin. Josh knew it was Midori that tackled her.

"Oops! I didn't mean to do that to you, Shalin!" the beautiful, green creature said as her new wielder recovered from the hit.

"Midori, I am Shalin. Ho-oh said that I would wield your powers to save Johto from a new crisis. Shall we join forces?"

"I have been waiting for you for a long time, Shalin. But first, we need to take care of some preparations, alone. Hop on my back."

Shalin mounted Midori. Josh flattered the new Beast Rider, saying that the two of them looked great together. The Beast wrapped its vines around its body and the upper part of Shalin's legs. This way, there was no way Shalin could fall off. "Ready?"

Midori backed up a few feet, then waited for the signal. "Let's do it!" Shalin yelled. The rider suddenly tightened her clutch on Midori, causing the Beast to race across the chamber and into the dark vortex, which acted as a portal. After Beast and rider passed through, the vortex closed. All that the other Beast Riders could do was wait.

Cut Music

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alana
July 16th, 2005, 03:58 PM
Another awesome chapter. ^_^ Please post the next chapter. I can't wait to read it.

RaikouRider243
July 19th, 2005, 07:41 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 6 --- Shalin's Growth

The dark vortex Midori rushed through was actually a portal to a jungle in a distant land. "This jungle was where I was born and raised. I want to show you my friends...but they are probably all too scared to come out because you are riding on my back," Midori told her rider.

Shalin understood why. "I know. Anyhow, why did you take me here?"

"Good question. We came here to get you some experience, as well as the Weapon of my power."

"A sword?"

"No, not a sword. You'll see. Just hold on, and don't yell. I want to test your ability to handle speed. I'm going to run around this jungle for a while, going faster and faster. After I run fast enough, I'll let you control me for a while. Being able to handle and control speed is one of the basic abilities a Beast Rider must have. Before we leave this place, you must be able to ride at full speed and gain control over me. Then, we'll get what we came here for and go."

Without even giving Shalin a chance to respond, Midori started running. The hardest part of the test wasn't riding at full speed; it was keeping calm while the swift Beast weaved around the many trees in the area. As she raced through the jungle, Shalin's heart was pounding in fear. What if Midori's grip on her rider became loose by mistake? What if Midori accidentally poisoned her rider? "I have to trust her," Shalin reasoned with herself. "So far, she has been trustworthy, and seems to like me. She'd never do those horrible things to me."

Every time Midori weaved around a tree, Shalin felt a strong push from the Beast's body. That push got stronger the faster her Beast ran. As time passed and Midori got faster, Shalin's heart beat harder and faster. When the Beast had reached 180 miles per hour, it stopped speeding up. The scenery was so blurred from the speed that Shalin shut her eyes and put her complete trust in Midori. The Beast jumped through a large circle created by two thin, tall trees. That was the end of the rainforest.

"It's fine now, Shalin," her Beast comforted her. "You can open your eyes now."
She slowly raised her eyelids, noticing they were in an open field with a mountain in the distance. However, that mountain was not their destination.

"It was silly to think I wouldn't make it out for a second," Shalin mumbled.

"I'm going to let you control me now. You probably already figured out how to make me run faster or slower from before we jumped into that portal. To change direction, lean your body in the direction you want to go. If you need me to do anything else, say so. Have fun with this while you can, because once we get out of here, it's not all fun and games."

Shalin tried doing everything she could think of. With the vast amount of open real estate to work with, she got used to turning Midori in various directions by having it run in figure-eight patterns of varying curvature. She giggled in her excitement several times while riding. She knew she could control Midori. This was more of a "fun and games" time for her, in Midori's words.

After about a dozen different figure-eights, Shalin turned Midori back toward the mountain quite sharply. The push on her right leg from the acute turn was almost painful. The last preliminary test for Shalin had begun. The green-spotted cheetah accelerated to its top speed of 180 miles per hour, then made a huge leap into the air. The rider knew she didn't have to worry about falling off. Instead, she was being tested for motion sickness. The green Beast leaped up to a peak height of almost forty feet before landing on the ground. When it jumped, Shalin's legs stretched out more than she was comfortable with. Upon landing, the force of the impact with the ground irritated her rear end for a short time. Midori jumped around like this several times, covering an amazing amount of distance with each leap.

There was another wooded area on the other side of the vast field, this one smaller. However, there seemed to be a straight path edged through the rainforest, which was extremely unusual. There was a brick building in the distance, covered in foliage. Midori revealed to Shalin, "Congratulations. That's half the test. The other half begins here." Shalin was silent as her Beast ran toward the building. Slowing down as they reached the structure, Midori noticed some of her young friends come out of hiding. They looked hostile. She began to reason with them.

"Friends, this is a human friend of mine. She's different than the others. Ever since our ancestor was sealed away because of humans, we were taught that humans are evil creatures, incapable of doing any good. But this girl is different. She has a heart for me. She brought her human friends, and together, they unsealed the entrance to the portal. When I jumped through the gate, I noticed that the other two doors were still locked tightly. I have learned that some humans can be trusted. Please, friends. Let Shalin and I go in."

The young Midori look-alikes contemplated with each other for ten minutes before deciding to let Shalin pass. Midori powered up, then shot, a massive beam of solar energy from its relatively small mouth. The tough vines blocking the entryway were cut by the beam, and fell to the ground. On the other side of the entrance was a large room. A skylight shed light on what appeared to be a rare type of plant. Shalin guided Midori closer for further examination. Upon taking a closer look, Shalin saw what appeared to be a large, red, hardened flower bud with green thorns below.

"Shalin, get off my back and pull on that plant very hard," Midori commanded her rider. Shalin jumped off, then walked up to the red bud and pulled on it. As she pulled harder and longer, the plant started to loosen from the ground. Making a last effort to pull it out of the ground, she gripped the red bud tightly, then jumped backwards, yanking the object out of the ground. The amount of force she used to pull it out of the ground caused her to fall on her back. Her upper back landed on the stone floor surrounding the small garden, while her lower body landed on the soft grass.

Upon close examination of the uprooted object, Shalin realized that there were no root remains anywhere on the plant. Midori explained everything.

"Shalin, are you confused? Let me explain. You are a Beast Rider, just like the three of the legend you know of. The plant you pulled from the ground here is actually the Midori Rider's weapon, the Rose Whip. It is a hidden treasure that was banished with me, when I fought with my rider back in the war. He was the one who created the Rose Whip. In fact, all six of the elemental weapons were created by the first Beast Riders. Dart created the Rose Whip you wield now. He was the first human to develop a relationship with me, though I didn't really like him very much. But you are more of my type of friend. The first Beast Riders were no more than warriors who merely used us to save Johto, and possibly the rest of the world. We really couldn't feel for them emotionally, unlike you.

The other five original Beast Riders were Albert, the creator of the Crimson Blade; Maria, the creator of the Crystal Brand; Drake, the creator of the Lightning Sword; Gary, the creator of the Lightbringer and Draining Shield; and finally, Lloyd, the creator of the Death Mace. They all were valiant fighters, and their weapons were amazingly powerful, possessing the same powers as their Beasts had. The Rose Whip's thorns are extremely toxic. Be careful not to touch them by mistake."

Shalin picked the weapon up with her right hand, remounted Midori, and was about to exit, when a human-shaped, intelligent plant grew up from the grassy area of the chamber. The rider quickly turned Midori around, and noted that the creature looked like it wanted to fight.

Cue Music: "Minor Boss" - Legend of Dragoon
http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/LODBossBattle.mid

"Shalin," Midori started, "this is practice. If you just stay on my back, you won't get hurt. Just try to hit it with the Rose Whip. I'll pitch in when I can, but this is supposed to be practice for you. Now, go get him!"

Midori rushed toward the human-shaped creature boasting leaf blades for fingers. The rider just waved the whip at the foe, missing completely. Retaliating, it fired a Leaf Blade at Shalin. The projectile left a minor cut on her left arm. It stung a little and detracted from her focus, but she had received paper cuts more painful than that when she was a senior in high school. Midori chuckled silently, then advised her rider on using the Rose Whip.

"I figure you've never seen anyone use a whip of any sort. I guess I assumed too much about you, then! Try quickly stretching your hand out, then jerking it back even faster. That should...whoa!" Midori's advice was cut off as she jumped out of the way of a ball of toxic waste headed straight for her.

"I'll try that. Let's try this again!" At that, Midori turned around and sped toward what she had identified as the Mandrake. Shalin did exactly as her Beast told her: she jerked her right hand forward, then backward almost immediately. The Rose Whip made a loud snap, hitting the Mandrake in the left arm. The noise of the weapon caused Shalin to flinch. "Wow. Is this thing as powerful as it is loud?" she asked.

"Oh, much more powerful than noisy." Midori charged up solar energy, then fired a searing, white beam toward the Mandrake. It blasted the foe out of the sunlight, but released another Sludge Bomb into the air. Midori's legs were covered in hazardous waste, but Shalin never touched it. It shook off the purple waste as it ran toward the Mandrake once more, enabling Shalin to give it a good beating. She struck the enemy twice in the right shoulder. Sugar-filled water drained out as the entire right arm fell off of the creature. When the arm fell off, the Leaf Blades on the hand were ejected with it. Two of them hit Shalin, both in the upper-left arm. Two more brushed by Midori's soft underside. The Grass-type Beast jumped away from its foe, then reared up, scaring Shalin.

"Aghh...this one's rougher than I thought. But he's almost done for, I can tell. Let's strike him again!" Midori ran up to the now one-armed Mandrake, enabling Shalin to attack with the Rose Whip. Though the attack was successful, it only brushed the left arm and torso. She tried again as Midori jumped backwards. She didn't expect to land another hit, but she did--right in the face of the monster. In addition, it was the edge of the whip that hit the face. The monster fell to the ground, lifeless.

Cut Music

"Congratulations, Shalin. I accept you as a Beast Rider. You learn quickly, I can tell. Do you want to stay here any longer? We can stay here a while, if you want."

"We should get back to Josh and the others as quickly as possible. They might be growing impatient with us. Let's get going!" Listening to her rider's request, Midori took off, gradually accelerating to full speed. Having almost full control over the dark green cheetah made Shalin feel special inside. When the two of them were halfway across the field, she asked Midori, "Do you know how to use Extremespeed?"

"Yes, I do. The impatient one, are we? So you want to go into Extremespeed, do you?"

"Do it."

"All right, Shalin."

Midori started glowing green as Shalin's heartbeat started racing again. The green glow got increasingly intense until Midori released the boost. For the time it was racing close to 225 miles per hour, it looked like a green comet streaking across the ground. It maintained this amazing speed until the first rainforest came into view. At that point, Shalin slowed Midori down considerably. From there, she casually rode through the jungle until she arrived at the now re-opened portal from whence they arrived. Midori made a dramatic leap into the vortex leading back to Kadessa, where Josh, Ace, Aravan, their Beasts, and Ho-oh were waiting for their safe return.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

outlaw
July 22nd, 2005, 07:57 PM
I see your putting the fanfic here raikou, this is demimew from serebii, why don't you just post the whole fanfic here? And will you make another one?

RaikouRider243
July 23rd, 2005, 10:34 AM
The reason why I don't post the whole thing here is to attract other readers that are here that haven't been to SPP.

Alana
July 23rd, 2005, 10:47 AM
Sorry my reply took so long. ^_^ I like Midori. She's a cool Pokemon. I'd prefer a sword to a whip but it seems to suit Shalin just fine. The story is really beginning to play out so please post the next chapter soon. I'll try to reply sooner if I can.

RaikouRider243
July 23rd, 2005, 11:06 AM
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 7: The Truth About Donovan

By the time the four Beast Riders exited the Royal Capital, it was dark outside, and the Forbidden Land had turned into a chilly wasteland. Luckily, there was still no howling wind blowing the sand around. It was no more than a long ride back to Ecruteak for the Beast Riders. It was a calm evening, and the moon was almost full. When they had reached the halfway point between Ecruteak and Kadessa, a massive explosion from the ruined city pierced the air. All four riders flinched, but kept their Beasts moving. A bright, green light was shining upward from the center of the ruined city. This was a signal to everyone that Midori was free from the bondage she had been in for centuries. As the Beast Riders got farther from the light, it faded away. Everyone was tired from the expedition that day, especially Josh. He had been up since three in the morning. Impatient to get back to bed, Josh sped Raikou up to its maximum speed, forcing Midori and Suicune to go into Extremespeed to keep up. They made it back to the city quickly. Entering the dorm building on campus, everyone fell into their beds and fell fast asleep quickly.

Meanwhile, well to the east of Ecruteak, Donovan saw the beam of green light emerge from where Shalin had exited atop Midori's back. "What the hell is that?!" he muttered to himself. He watched the light for some time, trying to figure out what it was. After a half-hour longer, the light started to fade. When the light faded to half of its original intensity, another loud explosion sounded, and a dark aura surrounded the Capital. It blacked out the portion of the star-lit sky directly above it.

"Donovan!" a voice sounded in his head. The source of the darkness seemed to be calling him.

"Who the hell is it?!"

"Come here. Follow that signal in the night sky. When you arrive at the source, I will tell you who I am. I hold the power to destroy those whom you hate. Hurry, Donovan. Make sure to arrive before sun-up!"

"Just tell me?! Who are you?!" The voice stopped. "I guess I'll have to follow it. Go, Salamence!" At that, Donovan released from one of his Poké Balls a fairly short, but large, blue dragon with red wings and four legs. The tall, intimidating trainer had to sit very low to the ground to hop on his dragon's back. He carefully positioned himself astride the Pokémon before commanding it to take off into the night sky. When the dragon finally started flying, the trainer let his legs relax on the sides of its body. Though powerful, it was never meant for speedy flight, especially with a human on its back. It took the two of them nearly an hour to even get the Royal Capital Kadessa, the source of the darkness, in sight. The ruined city seemed to look vastly transformed after the sun had set. It looked much more dark and mysterious at this point than it was when the Beast Riders had come that afternoon.

"Wow," Donovan said to himself. "An ancient city, right in the middle of the desert. I've read about this sort of thing before."

The voice from earlier started up again. "You must watch where you step the entire way through this place. If anything looks out of place, Donovan, do not touch it. The entire place is rigged with traps to prevent people from getting far. I will guide you if you start to stray."

Upon landing, Donovan kept the advice of the voice in mind. He watched where he stepped for every step of the way. It was exactly the same temple that the Beast Riders had been in that late afternoon. The light inside was extremely dim, impairing Donovan's vision. He recalled Salamence before entering the structure, making sure to avoid any kind of trap possible. By the time Donovan made his way to the central chamber, he knew where the voice had come from. It didn't even have to reveal its location. A flurry of dark waves was creaking through the sealed door on the right. There were many cracks in the stone, making it fragile even with the seal that was placed on it.

"Smash this door. I know you can do it." Donovan sent Salamence out again, and commanded it to use a Double-Edge tackle. It lunged at the door and caused the crack to become larger. Surprisingly, the door still held up.

"Again, Salamence!" Donovan yelled. It rammed at the crack again. This time, the door came tumbling down. Another dark vortex appeared behind the door. This one, however, possessed a suction force from the amazing amount of energy behind the door. It grabbed Salamence and sucked it in immediately. Donovan dove after his Pokémon into the vortex. The two of them travelled through a twisted, distorted void for a long time. When the path of the vortex stopped twisting around, there was a stone pathway for a floor, but the rest of the area was a warped darkness, enigmatic in appearance. When Donovan finally came to, he found himself staring upward into the void as well as into the blood-red eyes of a huge, black Beast nearly eight feet in stature. It possessed dark violet bracers with ancient writing around each of its legs.

"Donovan, you have finally arrived," the dark creature started.

"Um, could you tell me first of all who you are; second, where we are; and third, what the hell is going on here?"

"I am Akuji, the legendary Beast of Darkness and Death. We are in a hidden location in the depths of the earth. No one knows about this location but you, me, and a select few others. I called out to you because you have a desire to destroy those you hate. Fate has decided to have us join forces. That answered all of your questions."

"So you're a Pokémon, like Raikou, Entei, and Suicune?"

"Yes."

"And am I destined to become--"

"A Beast Rider, yes. Whether you will or not depends on if you can handle the consequences."

"Finally, those jerks will get a taste of their own medicine! Akuji, what are we waiting for?! Let's go get them!"

The portal to the outside world closed. "Not so fast, Donovan. Though I see you have a desire to become malicious, you have a long way to go." Akuji's dark glow was affecting Donovan's mind and heart. The good that was left in him was fading out. However, Akuji only had the power to dim the good, not exterminate it totally. "But I think I can help you out. I'll tell you how I got to be in this awful place, along with someone else in here who would like to see you. Here is what I remember. I could go on for a while, but I don't want to bore you with unneeded details.

This series of conflicts was much like a prologue to the Great Pokémon War. Those silly, power-hungry humans figured out that I was incredibly powerful and evil. Those tyrants thought that if they could control me, nothing in the world could stop them. I played along with their games for quite some time with a number of different rulers. It brought out more evil in their hearts, and they became more and more ruthless with each passing day. Unfortunately for them, the first couple of tyrants were overthrown by the proletariat because they didn't fully harness my power. After figuring out what to do to use me more efficiently, they were able to maintain their tyranny for longer periods of time.

Eventually, one of the emperors tried to push me to a high degree of my strength. Figuring out that I had amazing combat skills, the fool tried to ride me into battle, as if I had no choice. I played with it for a while, killing off nearly the entire enemy force. When the battle was won, my rider tried to forcefully turn me around. That was very embarrassing to me, so I threw him off my back and murdered him. The following two emperors were even worse, and I killed them in the same manner. I never chose any of them to even use me in battle, let alone ride on my back and command me like a horse. That was extremely embarrassing, so that's why I killed them. After those two people, the destined one finally accepted my calling...Lloyd."

"Wait. What do I have to do with this?" Donovan asked the black Beast.

"Listen, and you'll find out. Lloyd took over the region north of the Twin Towers where three of our relatives lived. Unlike those other power-hungry fools, Lloyd knew what he was doing. Though he was one of the most sinister men I had ever seen, he used his common sense in maintaining and using power. I knew that I could bring out an amazing power in him, so I met with him. Though he was a powerful ruler, he had no trouble keeping his cool. He was the only man I had ever seen with platinum-colored hair. He had the desire to create a utopia in which only his people would remain. He had heard of me and knew of my power. I decided to seek him out. For the time we were together, we were good friends and powerful allies. I was so enthralled that I let him climb on my back and control me.

After several easy battles, he extracted some evil energy from me to create a one-of-a-kind weapon: the Death Mace. It carried with it the same darkness that I punish my enemies with. He crafted it so that it could build power from my strength, then unleash the power in a massive attack that killed everyone in the radius, period. Nothing could save anyone who was hit with the blast. As a weapon in itself, it was also strong. With that and my powers, the two of us were unstoppable in battle. At one point, however...he, too, went wrong. He knew about my impressive speed, and had ridden on my back at over one hundred miles an hour. There was nothing wrong with that; in fact, it was a great tactic for him to use my speed. Where he went wrong, however, is learning about my true running ability. He tried to push me faster, and I let him. He wished he hadn't. What he didn't know was that I'm a sprinter. I'm sure you've seen Josh's Raikou and how fast it went."

"Yes," Donovan recalled, "I saw Raikou in a race with Entei and Suicune, and those Beast Riders were on them! It seems like so long ago, but it was pretty recent. I didn't like seeing them, but I must admit it was a sight to see them racing, particularly from so close."

"You will easily be able to overtake his Raikou. I'm twice as fast as that Beast."

Donovan stopped for a second, in disbelief at what Akuji told him. "Back up for a minute. Twice as fast as Raikou?"

"Yes. But it's a sprint. I can't run that fast for nearly as long as Raikou runs at its full speed. That yellow Beast can run at its fastest speed for an amazing amount of time. However, does it really matter if I can knock Raikou down? I only need a short distance to catch up to it."

"Incredible. Now I see your story. Continue."

"When I started sprinting around, Lloyd was panicking, hanging on for his life. He managed to hold on for the duration of the entire sprint. How he did it, I don't know. He was the only one to survive my speed, and learned his lesson quickly. We dominated the known world, until those legendary birds came and sealed me to this void...along with Lloyd. He wants to meet with you."

"He's still alive?!"

"The passage of time behind this seal is virtually nonexistant. We need not waste any more time talking about the past. We need to address the present. Donovan, you will carry on Lloyd's legacy. Climb on my back."

"But not even Lloyd could--"

"I promise I won't go that fast. In fact...you've never ridden on a Pokémon that's really fast, have you?"

"I don't think so. Maybe when I was younger."

"Then I promise I'll go slow at first, but we'll get fast, like during Lloyd's first time riding me. It'll be pretty fast, but not a sprint."

Donovan struggled to climb atop the nearly eight-foot-tall black Legend of Darkness. Akuji noticed the struggle he was going through. In response, it sat down on its hind legs, lowering its huge body closer to the ground. This time, the college senior climbed onto the dark Beast successfully. It stood up and started running toward the back of the chamber, picking up speed as it carried Donovan down the long, dimly lit corridor. Donovan was nervous, but became more calm the longer Akuji ran peacefully.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alana
July 23rd, 2005, 11:51 AM
And now Donovan has Akuji. It sounds like it would be a cool beast if it wasn't evil. Well even if it's evil it doesn't mean it can't be cool. :P Just a beast I wouldn't like to come in contact with. So Shalin now has Midori and Donovan has Akuji. I'm guessing Donovan will get the Death Mace soon. Well now I must sit and wait for the next chapter.

Super_Lawliet
July 23rd, 2005, 01:23 PM
This story is amazing. I feel as if I am there, seeing what the characters see, feeling what they feel. Keep it up!

outlaw
July 24th, 2005, 03:45 PM
Ya Raikou's Fanfic's can do that to you...

RaikouRider243
July 25th, 2005, 03:44 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 8: The Contract

Donovan continued to ride Akuji across the void, getting used to its gait. The ride was about as peaceful as it could possibly be, and Donovan knew it. "Where are you taking me?" the rider asked.

"There is someone you must meet. He is at the very back of this place, and he will explain everything that I have not already told you," Akuji responded. "He is someone very special to me. He will reveal everything to you in due time. Just be patient and I'll take you to him."

The long passage seemed to continue on endlessly. This gave Donovan's eyes the time to adjust to the dark, wavering background that accompanied the hidden area. After a ride of nearly 15 minutes, they finally arrived at the chamber end, where a young man with platinum hair was apparently waiting for them.

Cue Music: "Danger Up Ahead!" - Legend of Dragoon

"I have returned with Donovan, sir," Akuji greeted the man.

"Excellent."

"Who are you?!" Donovan snapped. "You set me up, didn't you?! Well, first of all, identify yourself."

"My name is Lloyd--"

"What's going on here?! You two are definitely setting me up! Akuji told me about a Lloyd that was its only rider before I climbed up there to get here. And the Lloyd Akuji talked about lived over seven hundred years ago!"

At that, Lloyd grabbed a dark mace laying on the ground behind him. "I am he. This mace should be plenty of evidence to prove it."

Donovan was shocked at the sight of the mace, and started yelling. "But how is that possible?! That would make you over seven hundred years old!"

Lloyd chuckled. "Donovan, you are so naive. In this dark void, the passage of time is extremely slow, including our biological clocks that control aging. Though it has been many centuries since Akuji and I roamed the outside world, I have aged but a little during that time."

"What's that mace for?" Donovan inquired.

"It is the Death Mace. I created it mostly with an extraction of Akuji's dark powers. It is an amazing weapon for that reason. When Akuji and I combined our powers into the weapon, anyone who was hit by the blast of darkness was instantly slain. Nothing could save them."

"Why did you use Akuji as a medium of getting me here? If you two were so close to each other, why couldn't you just use Akuji to communicate with me without bringing me here?"

"I needed to see you in person, to see if you are worthy of carrying my legacy into a new generation. You see, I cannot show my face in the upper world again. I would be killed immediately. But by giving people power, they can help me accomplish my life goal: a world where everyone can live peacably, whether in light or in darkness. Back when I ruled much of this region, there was this revolutionary organization that wanted to overthrow my government. I saw no reason to let them do as they wanted; they were merely a group of radicals with no sociopolitical hygiene. So I went to war with them.

I was doing fine until that jerk Zoltin showed up and ruined everything. This swordsman was sitting on its back, too. Just like I did on Akuji. We battled hard and long. I was about to destroy him when those stupid legendary birds had to seal us away here. That was the most frustrating moment of my life."

Donovan questioned the Akuji Rider's idea. "So your plan was to do away with those revolutionaries and create a utopia? Lloyd, people like you have tried creating utopias before, and it has never worked. What makes your idea any different from theirs?"

"With Akuji, I can turn everyone in the region on their dark sides. With everyone living in Akuji's darkness, all the big problems of the world would be solved. There would be no reason for war, for poverty, or anything plaguing the world. I want to see a world transformed by Akuji. And with your help, I can accomplish that. Donovan, will you be my right-hand assistant?" Lloyd asked him.

"I don't want to get into something that I will regret later. Please continue explaining about this place, yourself, your past, and Akuji. Then and only then will I make my decision," Donovan responded.

"All right, very well," he resumed. "I will tell you more about my experiences with Akuji. It's really hard to battle with and ride on, but if you train yourself, not even the other Beasts will be able to stop you. Let me run through all of Akuji's abilities for you. The list is interesting to note. First of all, you notice the sharp horns it has?"

"Yes."

"Akuji can use those to burrow underground and come up above ground again. Because of the way it is shaped and how the horns drill, you can ride on its back while it is digging underground, though it is quite slow down there. Secondly, it has psychic ability that I discovered recently. When you rode Akuji here, it wasn't running as fast as it could, was it?"

"No, not even close. It told me so."

"I ran into this problem when I was trying to push Akuji to its speed limit. Because Akuji's gait is so rough at high speeds, not to mention that such high speeds are lethal if you fall off its back...well, when I was trying to push Akuji fast, it ran a lot faster than I expected. I was barely hanging on until it slowed down. It's by a sheer miracle that I survived. With the vast amount of time I had after I was sealed with my Beast, I tried reproducing the circumstances...and I figured out how to ride Akuji at those impressive speeds. To do that, you have to put your life in its hands. You see, when Akuji sprinted back and forth, it was holding me up with psychic power. I could still feel its rough gait, and that was an awesome feeling."

"Wow. You think I can control it?" Donovan asked.

"Here's how we will find out. I'm going to see if Akuji really thinks you can handle the true Darkness. First, we will see if you can ride Akuji normally."

"Lloyd," Akuji interrupted, "Donovan has already done that. He handled things perfectly. I was impressed at how quickly he adapted to it."

Lloyd was enthralled to see that he may have found the new Akuji Rider. "Well, then... that was unexpected. Akuji, hold Donovan up, and make sure he doesn't fall off your back and get killed. This is the second part of the test. Akuji's going to take off for the other end of the long hallway. At first, it will be just like how you rode before. After a short time, however, Akuji's going to start sprinting faster than anything you have ever seen. I can't quantify how fast, but be prepared. It'll slow down, turn around, then come back the other way at an even faster pace. If you can control it both ways, I shall entrust you with Akuji."

"But don't I need that mace, too?"

"That's exactly my point. Akuji will be yours, but not the Death Mace. You'll need to demonstrate a certain level of mastery of the weapon before I let you use it. Donovan, you can start Akuji running when you are ready."

"Akuji," Donovan started, "Will you warn me when you're about to speed up?"

"Donovan, I will tell you well in advance."

"At least that's clear now." Donovan let out a big sigh. He was clearly nervous about the trial, but he knew he had to get it over with. "Akuji, let's get going!" With that, the dark Beast started to run down the passageway. After about a minute of running down the hallway, it was time for the true test to begin.

"Momentarily, I'm going to start sprinting down this corridor. Though I am going to be making an effort to hold you in place atop my back, I can't do it with this alone. Donovan, hold on tight. I will do my best to keep you in place. All right. I'm going to really run now." Immediately, Akuji started using its psychic power not only to hold the rider in place, but to diminish the incredible force that the rider would receive when the sprint began. The Legend of Darkness began one of the sprints it had become well known for. Barreling down the long, straight hallway at 330 miles per hour, Donovan was scared for the first ten seconds of the sprint before he gained control and got used to the rough gait at the blinding speed. Having the Beast under perfect control for the other forty-five seconds, Donovan knew he would pass Lloyd's test and claim Akuji for himself. Quickly arriving at the other end of the long hallway, he turned the Beast around, then had it begin running again. The sprint back was just as thrilling as before for the first part.

"We can do this together. It is time for the moment of truth. Akuji! Extremespeed!!" The Beast started glowing a dark purple color as it increased its already amazing speed by an additional seventy miles per hour. It was the greatest thrill ride Donovan had ever been on, and he had now realized how to best the Beast Riders at their own game. Crossing from one end of the chamber to the other in a scant three minutes took two different Extremespeed sprints from the Beast. Lloyd saw Akuji's dark purple glow and knew Donovan had successfully controlled Akuji's speed.

"Very impressive," he complimented. "I now entrust Akuji to you. You still want the Death Mace, right? Well, I just thought of something. You can go ahead and take it with you, but I'll be tracking your progress from here. I'll make you a deal. If you can defeat even one of the Beast Riders, it's yours. Otherwise, I'll call you back here and take it back. Deal?"

"Deal," Donovan agreed.

"Very good. Be swift, Donovan, and ride the Beast of Darkness at full speed out of here. Remember, you're fighting for world peace and harmony!"

Donovan almost completely ignored Lloyd's last comment, only intent on avenging his defeat the previous afternoon. "Akuji, let's get out of here! Let's speed along! Then you can slow down a while. But no matter what, we gotta sprint out of the exit as fast as you can!

Akuji sped down the hallway just as it did the first time. After its burst of energy expired, it slowed down to 130 miles per hour, recovering its energy. When the exit portal was in sight, Donovan had Akuji enter Extremespeed. It bolted through the rest of the hallway, through the vortex, and out of the Royal Capital Kadessa at 400 miles per hour. The rider had nothing to worry about because the dark creature would keep him from falling off. He was ready to use Akuji to seek out the Beast Riders and take them down, one by one. After he bolted out of the city, a loud explosion caused by Akuji's massive energy release rocked the air. The noise of the blast could be heard from miles away. "Finally, the outside world!" Akuji said. "Donovan, let's go get those Beast Riders!"
~~~~~~~~~

RaikouRider243
August 5th, 2005, 07:21 AM
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 9: Sabotaged!

By the time Akuji and Donovan bolted out of Kadessa, it was already dawn. The loud explosion caused by Akuji's massive energy release woke the Beast Riders up earlier than normal. They quickly dressed, ate, and rushed out of the building, meeting each other just inside the main entrance.

Cue Music: "Danger Up Ahead!" - Legend of Dragoon

"What the hell was that noise?!" Ace yelled.

The other three Beast Riders were just as confused. "I wish I knew," Shalin responded. They walked outside to look for evidence of the blast, and found the same darkness that Donovan had seen the night before, only this time, it was much more profound. The young rider of Midori reasoned what had happened. "Could Akuji have broken the seal?" she asked.

"Oh dear god," Josh started, "I don't even want to think about that. Don't say that."

Aravan broke the news to Josh. "I hate to say this, but she's probably right. I'm concerned about what happened. Where are our Pokémon?"

"Behind the building," Ace answered.

"Then we need to quickly ride to the Burned Tower," Aravan said.

"Why?"

"If Akuji is roaming the world, we need to be prepared to fight at any time. As of now, Shalin is the only one who can fight effectively."

"Good point. But I'm worried about that, too," Josh added. "We need to get out of here fast." At that, the four of them hustled to the other side of the building and met Raikou, Entei, Suicune, and Midori.

"Josh, I'm just as concerned as you are," Raikou informed the Beast Riders. "You were right to judge what had happened. We really need to get out of here quickly and to the Burned Tower again."

(Cut Music)

The Raikou Rider was impressed at the bond he shared with his Beast. "You and I are always thinking on the same page when it comes to critical matters." He then turned to Shalin. "There will be little point in you coming along with us. You can't pass into the depths of the Burned Tower, where we need to go."

Shalin was stubborn. "I'm coming anyway! What if something happens and you get hurt or something? Who's gonna be there to protect you?"

"Shalin, you're more than welcome to come. I'm just saying that there isn't really very much of a point to doing so." Josh mounted Raikou, then resumed talking. "If you want to go, then let's go."

The other three riders followed suit, then took off for the northwest, in the direction of the ruined tower. Raikou and the other Beasts ran slower than usual, for it wasn't a crisis. They never exceeded one hundred miles per hour, giving time for the riders to take in their surroundings. When the Beast Riders finally arrived at the tower, they entered the basement and pushed in on the three tiles on the sides of the room. As was the last time, a large trapdoor opened in the center of the altar. The four Beast Riders descended to the underground chamber leading to the elemental Weapons.

"This is far as you can go," Josh said to Shalin. "The three passages are meant only for the riders of Raikou, Entei, and Suicune. You will have to stay here until we get back."

"All right, Josh," she responded.

Ace's path was exactly the same as before: a winding, lava-filled passage. "You know what to do with this, Entei."

"Yes. I remember this from that time before. It seemed so long ago." Ace had a short flashback about the first time he came here.

*****************

"Just trust in me, Ace. I will see to it that you are not hurt." Entei put its complete trust in Ace; now it was Ace's turn to trust Entei. It would be like the two of them were one in spirit. "All right. You would not put me in harm's way carelessly. I trust you. Let's go!" the beast's rider responded as they raced off down the lava-filled tunnel. Aravan was watching them until they disappeared down a corner. Entei showed no signs of pain, and saw Ace become less tense.

*****************

"I remember that day so well," he said. "Entei, let's run through here!" The Legend of Fire took off into the lava-stricken passage at a high rate of speed, again unharmed by the lava. Reminiscing about the past the entire way through, Ace was calm and collected, unlike the way he was upon entering the tower.

Josh's path, on the left side, was also exactly the same as the last time: a lightning-stricken passage that only a speeding Raikou using a Spark attack could cross. His mount charged up an electrical sphere, then surrounded itself and Josh with it. The Beast rushed into the lightning-filled chamber at full speed, jumping over many gaps in the floor. This time, however, Josh didn't have to hang on for his life, as was the last time. He could remember exactly what had happened before.

*****************

"How are you going to get me across here?" he asked.

Raikou offered a simple solution. "I can deflect the lightning bolts with a simple Spark attack. Just hold on as I rush across the path."

Josh was surprised at the answer Raikou had to the problem. "OK. I was second-guessing myself for a second about the feasibility of the approach, but I trust you won't electrocute me." He then let out a big sigh. Oh well, here goes nothing, I guess. Raikou! Spark attack!" Raikou and its rider became
surrounded by a sphere of electricity. When the field first appeared, Josh's hair stood on end. But several seconds later, he realized that the electricity was not harming his body. The Legend of Thunder suddenly accelerated to a high speed, nearly throwing Josh into the electricity. His heartbeat jumped dramatically, pounding from the close encounter with death.

"Raikou, don't do something like that!" Josh said as he tightened his clutch on the Beast's back.

"I will not let you fall off, Josh. Just trust in me. Have faith."

The beast had accelerated to nearly one hundred miles per hour by this time. Though everything was going fine for him, Josh could not relax like he did on that open field north of the college campus. There was something in his mind keeping him tensed up. Suddenly, a gap in the floor appeared in front of them. "Raikou, jump it!" Josh yelled. The beast made a low leap into the air, clearing the gap by a large margin.

*****************

The tunnel with Suicune and Aravan, however, was a wee bit different. The flow of water against the direction they wanted to go was nearly twice as fast as the last time. "Aravan." Suicune tried to get his rider's attention.

"Yes, Suicune? What's wrong?"

"This current is much swifter than before. There is no way I can swim across here, and it's also much too swift to try to freeze with my Ice Beam. But there is another way."

"And what would that be?"

"It is something you do not know about me yet. I'm sure you remember the day we raced ahead of Entei and Raikou. It was the day before we left each other."

"Yes. I remember that well. What's your point?"

"I don't need to swim to cross water, nor do I need to freeze the water. I can run on water."

"You what?!"

"You heard me. I can run on water, but I have to run really fast to do so. You know what else, I could swim up a waterfall if I needed to as well. Neat, huh?"

"That's really cool! Suicune, we need to back up a ways to do this," Aravan said. Suicune walked backwards for a few steps, then darted forward and onto the water. Bolting through the straight, narrow chamber at 180 miles per hour, Suicune stepped onto the flowing water. When it ran at that speed across the water, its legs never broke the surface. "This is really cool, Suicune! I never knew!"

It continued to run on the water all the way to the end of the tunnel. "Yes, people have admired me for this ability." Ace and Josh already made it to the end of their paths, and once again saw the Lightning Sword, Crimson Blade, and Crystal Brand in the back of the room, waiting for them. All three swords were glowing in the color of their respective Beast's element.

Cue Music: "Dart's Theme" (http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/sony/ps1/LODDARTv1_1.mid) - Legend of Dragoon

When Josh grabbed the Lightning Sword out of the pedestal on the left, a column of lightning struck around him, just as before. The same coat of yellow, lightweight, lightning-resistant armor materialized around him, as did the same wide sword sheath to accompany the lightning-bolt shape of the blade. Colums of fire and ice-cold water surrounded Ace and Aravan, respectively, as they pulled their swords out. They got coats of lightweight, red and blue armor, according to the element of their respective Beasts. They also received matching sword sheaths.

The transformed Beast Riders held up their blades as Josh's crackled with electricity, Ace's ablaze with Entei's flames, and Aravan's giving off an arctic aura capable of freezing anything.

Cut Music

The three Beast Riders slashed their weapons in opposite directions, unleashing attacks at the side walls as a test to see whether the weapons were working correctly. A few seconds after the test attacks were successful, the blazing flame surrounding Ace's sword faded out, and the color of the blade changed from a bright red to a deep maroon. Aravan's blade changed color from a sky blue to a deep blue-gray. The electricity of Josh's Lightning Sword, however, was not affected.

"Something just happened, and something tells me Akuji is behind it," Josh suggested.

"What's that evil Beast up to now?!" Ace exclaimed. "He has to come in here and jinx our weaponry...what a god**** coward that Beast is!!"

"I don't think Akuji plans on playing a fair game. I don't think it knows what the word 'fair' means. We have to get out of here and tell Shalin the bad news. Let's get out of here." The Beast Riders sheathed their weapons, climbed back atop their Pokémon, and raced out of the chamber through three straight, narrow, grey paths. Blazing through the chambers at full speed, it took them under three minutes to make it back to Shalin.

"Guys? Is that you in that armor?!"

"Yes, it's us. We don't have time to discuss it now. Something's wrong with the Crimson Blade and the Crystal Brand," Josh informed Shalin. "But we have to make do." We should head back to campus and find out exactly what's going on. Maybe the news channel will tell us something."

Thr four Beast Riders reversed their steps to get out of the Tower, then sped back to campus. On the way back, they encountered a group of three Pokémon not native to the area: Persian, Scyther, and Ditto. All three of the wild Pokémon had blood-red eyes, which was extremely unnatural.

Cue Music: "Battle" (http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/sony/ps1/LoDbattletheme.mid) - Legend of Dragoon

Immediately, Ditto copied Entei's genetic code, transforming itself into a perfect duplicate of the legendary Beast. This would make the battle much more difficult. Scyther made three duplicate images of itself with its Double Team. "Raikou," Josh started, "Hit all of those images with a Thunder attack. That way, we'll be sure to hit it." Massive lightning bolts struck all three of the images in addition to the real Pokémon. The force of the attack gravely injured the flying mantis. It retreated from the scene.

Persian, the sleek, white cat, sneaked up behind the attacker without as much as making a sound. It jumped at Raikou and Josh. The Beast was able to save its rider in time by raising its hind legs. Josh suffered only a scratch, but Raikou's hind legs were injured significantly in the attack, and crippled its movement slightly for the time being.

Ditto, in the appearance of Entei, rammed into Suicune's side. The contact pinched Aravan's leg between his Beast's body and the transformed Ditto, causing the rider to utter a loud scream of pain. He counter-attacked with a sword slash and a Hydro Pump from Suicune's mouth. The damage blasted Entei's mockery back a long way as the Pokémon could no longer hold its transformation. It retreated in the same direction as Scyther.

The nimble Persian was the only one left. It rocketed at Aravan and Suicune, claws brandished. Knowing that it would probably attack Aravan's injured leg, Suicune jumped in the direction of the attacking Pokémon. The blue Beast sailed over Persian and stomped it. It was pinned to the ground and had nowhere to go. Suicune fired a powerful Ice Beam at its target from close range, then jumped out of the way before Aravan's body froze from the attack.

Cut Music

"Well, that was easy," Josh remarked. "But I think we will have a tough battle ahead. Did you note the color of the eyes of those Pokémon? They were blood-red, even more so than Raikou's." Suicune drenched Aravan in its Cure Water to help ease the pain caused by the wounds of battle. However, it didn't dull the pain completely. When the four Beast Riders resumed their trip to Ecruteak University, Raikou and Suicune held the group from going at full speed. Though Aravan's Beast had bound the wounds of the Legend of Thunder with a dose of Cure Water, it didn't alleviate the wounds caused by Persian's razor-sharp claws. Though their limp was still a speedy eighty miles per hour, it was much slower than Josh wanted to ride.

Cue Music: "Prepare For Battle" (http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/sony/ps1/LODPREP.mid) - Legend of Dragoon

After the longer-than-expected trip to Ecruteak University, they saw a shady figure mounted atop a clearly black Beast eight feet in stature. As they neared it, Ace identified the rider. "Donovan?!"

"Oh my god!" Josh exclaimed. He knew what was going on. He remembered the words of Ho-oh. Quickly putting his logic together, he identified the Beast as Akuji. Without as much as a word, Josh raced forward on Raikou, ready to have a talk with his nemesis. "What are you doing?!" Shalin hollered. "That is dangerous! Come back here, Josh!!"

When he got within a hundred feet of the evil Beast and its rider, Josh started shouting. "Donovan!! What are you doing on Akuji's back?! That thing is evil and it'll make you evil, too! You don't know what you are doing!"

Donovan turned Akuji around, and for the first time, Josh stared into the frightening face of the Beast of Darkness. However, the black fur, sharp horns, and blood-red eyes did not even phase him. "On the contrary, Josh, this is exactly what I want. It's hopeless to resist fate, and fate states that Akuji and I are to grow together, making a bond of friendship. And that bond of friendship will enable me to exact revenge for that other day when you defeated me! I will not let that happen again! The almighty Beast of Darkness will make sure of that!"

"Donovan, you don't understand. That Beast will turn you evil. Eventually, it's going to toss you aside. Instead of you two being friends and serving each other, you will become a slave to Akuji, and it will merely use you as a pawn. It could kill you now if it wanted to. It could throw you off its back and stomp you into the ground. You have to stop this madness and let Akuji go, now!"

"That's exactly the point of teaming up with Akuji! To stop the madness caused by you and your Beast-riding friends!"

"I guess we'll have to settle things the hard way. Go, Manectric!!" At that, Josh released the Poké Ball containing the loyal electric-type Pokémon. Akuji let out an ear-splitting roar. A dark, semi-transparent dome materialized around Josh and Donovan, sealing off his friends. "Josh!!" Ace yelled. "Entei, Josh needs help!" The massive Fire-type slammed its body into the dome, but was blasted back by the evil energy. Entei hit the ground on its side as Ace went flying. "Ace!!" Shalin yelled. She took off on Midori's back to help Ace. Entei's short-term energy was nearly drained from the attack.

As Shalin and Midori ran off to help Ace, the battle between Donovan and Josh was about to start. Donovan, drawing the Death Mace, stayed atop Akuji to assist it in battle.

Cut Music

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alana
August 6th, 2005, 11:03 AM
I'm really sorry it took so long to reply. I just never get aorund to reading the chapters. Well Donavan's proven himself to be an ***. But then he always was. The big battle is about to begin. I can't figure why Josh's sword wasn't tampered with. I guess that'll be explained. At least Shalin still has the Rose Whip. And now for me, I will sit here and wait for the next chapter. Some how I think another beast will show up soon.

RaikouRider243
August 7th, 2005, 06:35 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 10: Beast Versus Beast

Josh knew that if he sent Raikou into battle first, he would not be able to win the battle. Akuji was much stronger than Raikou could ever become. Before sending his Beast into the fight, he had to use his other Pokémon as bait to sap Akuji's energy, so it would be a conquerable task. The other five Pokémon Josh had with him were trained to battle in an autopilot-like fashion, with only minimal direction from the trainer. Battling in this way would confuse opposing trainers and give them less time to react. Manectric was already out and ready to start the battle. Josh pulled out the REBS Module he had used before. When the battle had begun, he kept one eye on the screen and another on the battle arena encompassed in the dark dome.

Cue Music: "Boss" - Legend of Dragoon
Found at: http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/sony/ps1/LODBOSS.mid

The agressive Manectric delivered the first attack of the battle. The attack was an electrical tackle. The overconfident rider of Akuji had the Beast take the attack. Though it didn't take a defensive position, it hardly phased it. This gave the rider a chance to counterattack with the black Death Mace. The spiked ball slammed directly into Manectric's left side as the target tried to reverse direction. The weapon pierced its skin and sent the Pokémon flying halfway across the battleground. Josh noticed the extent of the damage on his REBS module, and was amazed at the strength of the weapon Donovan carried.

"I see direct attacks will not work too well. Try using a Thunderbolt!" Josh suggested. The smaller four-legged yellow Pokémon shot a stream of electricity at its adversary. Though Akuji was incredibly fast in the open field, the speed and sheer physical power came at the expense of agility and evasion. The electricity smacked both Akuji and its rider, but there was no sign of extreme pain from either of them. It was as if Akuji was taking Donovan's hits as well, but the electricity clearly hit the rider.

The black Beast countered with a speedy Double-Edge attack, but Manectric hopped out of the way, to the left. The electric-type countered with another Thunderbolt, but it led the attack forward too much. The lightning struck in front of the intended targets. Taking advantage of Manectric's misfire, Donovan hustled Akuji into another Double-Edge tackle. The black Beast slammed straight into Manectric, slamming him into the edge of the dome. The energy from the dome sent Josh's Pokémon flying into the middle of the arena, out of energy after taking the massive attack.

Sending out his Charmeleon next, Josh started to realize that Akuji was clearly stronger than any of the other Beasts. He commanded the red Pokémon to spew a burst of fire from its mouth. The attack was a strong one. Akuji took a defensive position, hiding its rider from the attack. Once again, the assault didn't even phase the evil creature. Akuji retaliated by rearing up high, causing Donovan to nearly fall off its back. It slammed its huge paws on the ground, and a huge Earthquake followed. The shaking ground knocked Charmeleon out. But the attack continued toward the edge of the arena, where Josh was sitting on Raikou's back. The shaking ground and the now split-level arena threw off Raikou's concentration, and caused both Beast and rider to take massive damage.

"Hey, what the hell!!" Josh screamed at Donovan. "That's cheating!"

"It's not my fault. I never told Akuji to start an Earthquake. Besides, you're in no position to be officiating how we do battle."

The Raikou Rider recalled Charmeleon and sent out Sudowoodo. The tree-imitation Pokémon stood in the center of the arena. Donovan commanded Akuji to charge straight for Sudowoodo and shatter it into pieces. But this was exactly what Josh was looking for. Sudowoodo stepped to the right and extended its right leg, causing Akuji's right paws to get pinched against the rock-hard foot of Josh's Pokémon. It rounded the arena and came back for another assault. Instead of ramming Sudowoodo again, the Beast passed just to the left, setting up a beating from Donovan's Death Mace to Josh's Pokémon. The spiked ball made a large crack in its rocky body. It was in sad shape to be fighting. Akuji shot a huge spray of fire out of its mouth in an attempt to finish Sudowoodo off. The spray went over its head as it ducked. Josh was stunned at the power Donovan had acquired, and he knew it would take a miracle for him to win the battle.

"Sudowoodo," the trainer started, "we are going to have to do this again. Follow Akuji to the other side of the arena, and blow yourself up. You're in no shape to be continuing, and you might as well do as much damage as possible." The Pokémon quickly made its way to the far side of the dome and exploded about two-thirds of the way between Josh and Akuji. The blast created a smoke and shock waves that confused Donovan as Akuji reared up upon taking massive damage. Josh and Raikou took no damage, for they were just outside of the blast radius. He send out Poliwhirl to replace Sudowoodo.

Josh threw the Poké Ball very close to Donovan and Akuji on purpose. The blue tadpole Pokémon dodged an incoming mace attack from the rider of the evil Beast, then shot a dense series of rainbow-colored bubbles at the two of them. Being affiliated with the underworld gave Akuji a set of weak points similar to those of earth-type Pokémon such as Golem, but not the strengths, as was demonstrated by Manectric's electrical assaults earlier in the fight. The Bubble Beam attack, as it was known, hit both of them squarely, weakening their already low agility slightly. The enemy countered with another Earthquake. This time, however, when Akuji reared up, Donovan tightened his clutch significantly on his mount, and managed to hold on without even slipping the slightest bit. The shaking ground destroyed Poliwhirl's energy reserves as well as further reducing those of Josh and Raikou. However, Donovan was holding on so tight that the force of the landing hurt him.

Josh had no choice but to send out Pidgeot. The first thing it did was use its Mirror Move ability to reproduce Akuji's Earthquake. Neither Beast nor rider expected this, thus amplifying the attack's strength. In the confusion of the shaking ground, the five-foot-tall eagle dashed through the air, slamming into Akuji's face. This brought out more of its anger, and it shot another spray of fire from its mouth at close range. Pidgeot's wings were utterly singed, and it fell to the ground. Out of options, Josh recalled the eagle and went into battle himself, astride Raikou.

"All right, Raikou, we have to do something now," Josh mumbled to Raikou. "Use your Spark attack, but I'm going to add something to it with my sword."

"Good idea, Josh. Well, shall we do this?"

At that, Raikou surrounded itself with a large sphere of electrical energy, then started charging into Akuji. While it was charging, Josh's sword started glowing with electrical energy. When the attack was about to hit, Josh released a luminous spark of electricity from his blade. The attack was coupled with Raikou's spark, and surrounded Akuji and Donovan. The sphere gave off an intense light as Beast and rider were shocked by the electrical energy and blinded by the holy light. When the light faded, Donovan and Akuji looked very angry.

"You will pay for that, Josh!!" Donovan hollered. The Death Mace started glowing a deep purple as the black Beast ran for the center of the arena. Donovan released the massive, dark energy in the center of the dome, creating a second dome. After the energy collected for a sufficient amount of time, the Akuji Rider slammed his mace into the inner dome, shattering both domes. The result was an amazingly powerful blow to Josh and Raikou accompanied by a loud explosion. The two of them laid on the ground, unconscious.

Cut Music

Cue Music: "Prepare For Battle" - Legend of Dragoon
Found at: http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/sony/ps1/LODPREP.mid

While the smoke from the blast still encompassed the area, Donovan pulled out an Ultra Ball from his pocket and used it to capture Raikou. Picking up the Ball and putting it with his other Pokémon, Donovan called Akuji toward Josh's body. It used the horns on its head to grab the body and tossed the Raikou Rider onto its back. By the time Donovan had propped the body onto the Beast's back, the smoke had cleared.

"Oh my god!" Aravan screamed, with the remaining Beast Riders still mounted.

"So long, suckers!!" Donovan yelled back. He then had Akuji start running back toward the Forbidden Land.

"Don't let him get away!!" He pushed Suicune to top running speed quickly, as Ace and Shalin did their Beasts. "Where is Raikou?!"

Donovan simply took the Ultra Ball out of his right pocket and showed it to his pursuers. "Looking for this, are you?" He then put it away.

"You didn't! You are...a sick man, Donovan!" Ace yelled. They were closing in on Donovan.

"They're persistent, looks like," Donovan said to himself. "Akuji, we need to get out of here! Let's sprint from them!"

"I was about to suggest that, Donovan." At that, Akuji sped away from Josh's friends. There was no way for them to catch up. "He got away..." Ace said, dejected.

Cut Music

"How could we let him take Josh?! ****!!" Aravan yelled.

Cue Music: "Despair" - Legend of Dragoon

"There wasn't much we could do," Shalin noted, trying to calm everyone down. "Donovan had us set up from the very beginning. The only way we're going to get Josh back is to wait for a chance when he gets off guard, then fight him together. I knew, and so did all of you, that none of us could defeat Akuji and Donovan alone. The only way we're going to get Josh back is to fight together."

"Very well said, Shalin," Aravan complimented. "But I don't know if we'll get an opportunity like that anytime soon. We should go to the Tin Tower, inform Ho-oh of what had happened just now, and ask it for help on what to do next."

"Should we do that right now?" Ace asked.

"No. We should wait until tonight. I'm tired from those battles, and I think all of us deserve a rest. It's a pity that Josh won't be getting any good rest anytime soon."

"It's decided then. We rest until tonight, then take off for Tin Tower," the Entei Rider announced.

Cut Music

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alana
August 8th, 2005, 06:42 PM
*takes out rocket launcher and fires at Akuji and Donovan* Evil demon! Grrrr. Please post the next chapter soon. And let Ace, Aravan, and Shalin whoop Donovan's tail! Akuji probably looks cool, but it teamed up with that jerk so I don't like it. *sits and waits for next chapter with rocket launcher on lap*

RaikouRider243
August 12th, 2005, 03:08 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 11: Captured!

Donovan had raced on Akuji's back all the way to the Beast's home base in the Dark Void beyond the now-broken seal. He knew that the Poké Ball would not hold Raikou for much longer, particularly since it was being held by an evil trainer against its own will. Donovan tossed the device into a jail cell near the back of the chamber, then jumped off Akuji's back as it threw the body of the Raikou Rider into another cell directly across from the one the Poké Ball was thrown into.

Several hours after the battle, Josh regained consciousness. He found himself in a jail cell located in the same Dark Void that Akuji was sealed in. The shock of the blast from the attack shattered his short-term memory. He could remember nothing about the battle. "Where...am...I..." he mumbled to himself. Realizing he was being detained, he came to his senses and stood up.

Cue Music: "Appearance of the Virage" - Legend of Dragoon

Looking across the prison, he saw a yellow creature that got clearer as his vision slowly recovered from the loss of consciousness. When his vision was fully restored, he identified the creature as one of his most important friends. "Raikou?!" He was in utter shock to see the Legend of Thunder being detained with him in the same room. To one side and between the cells stood Akuji. It was giving off a sinister, purple glow, but didn't say a word. It was as if it was playing a mental game with the imprisoned Beast and rider.

"Josh, I can hardly hear you," Raikou responded. "I think I can piece together what happened. Remember that battle with Akuji that happened recently?"

"Raikou, I can't remember a thing. I must have passed out a long time. The last thing I remember is the other Weapons losing power. Oh! My sword!" He reached for his right side, and was relieved that the sword was still there, glowing with his Beast's electricity. "If I'm being detained, why didn't the guy who did it take my sword?"

"Josh, that is curious. You can do some real damage with it. Perhaps they feared what could have happened if they took it. But the sword won't harm other people unless they touch the blade. Now, can I refresh your memory about the battle?"

"Go right ahead."

"We were hanging in there until you combined your sword with my Spark attack to produce a luminous blast of electricity that really made Akuji and Donovan mad. Then, they used this dark blast. It's the first time I've felt true pain in my life. I'm glad I haven't been conscious to feel the pain. It was a throbbing all over my body. Thankfully, I'm fine now...physically. But I am not fine with being detained like this, obviously."

"Let me see if I can cut this bar." Josh took out the electrical blade and sliced at the metallic bar. The electrical blade just bounced off the bar. It didn't even leave a mark. "**** it! These walls are photoelectrically sealed! I should have known better. Raikou, we won't be able to escape. The blade can't pierce the bars, so neither will your claws or fangs. Also, it seems to be preventing electricity from flowing out of the cell. Raikou, it appears that we are stuck in here for a long time."

"When I regained consciousness, I was apparently inside a capturing device you call a Poké Ball. It was quite embarrassing. I tried to shatter it from the inside. It took a long time and a lot of effort, but I broke out. By that time, though, I found myself in here. I already knew that the walls were 'photoelectrically sealed,' as you put it. Unlike Travis, Donovan is smart. He knows what he's doing...unless he's just a puppet, and someone's been controlling him. But I doubt it. Donovan's got a great deal of personal reasons to take us into custody, even without oversight."

Josh peered out of the cell from several angles. On his left, he noticed Akuji, standing guard over both of them. The Beast was still giving off a purple, sinister glow. "It seems that we have uninvited guests," Josh remarked.

"I see it, too," Raikou said. "And it's not good. I can see the purple aura around it. Something is not right with it. I don't know what Donovan's strategy is with keeping us detained. He knows full well that even without us, he will fall to our friends. He must be up to something. He might kill us. He might tell the other Beast Riders he's keeping us hostage here and draw them in. I don't know what he'll do."

"You really think he'll kill us?"

"I wouldn't put it past him. When you became a Beast Rider, Josh, you understood the great number and severity of the risks you would be taking in joining forces with me. In our current positions, he could probably kill us at any time he wants."

Cut Music

======================

Cue Music: "The Debate" - Legend of Dragoon

Late the next morning, Ho-oh was at roost on the top of the Tin Tower, as usual. "I cannot sense Raikou anymore. But I did not feel it die. However, it feels as if its soul has left this world. I cannot feel its lightning anymore. Something has happened to Josh. Perhaps...could Josh and Raikou have lost that battle yesterday?" It shed a few tears for the Raikou Rider, then resumed as Ace, Aravan, and Shalin came up to the top floor of the tower, riding atop their Beasts. "If this is the case, then I have greatly underestimated Akuji's strength. No, it was not the Beast's strength I misjudged, but that of the rider too!" The rainbow bird noticed his company, and turned toward them. "Oh, you're here. Do you need me for something?"

Aravan guided Suicune forward, then they started the discussion. "Josh is gone. Donovan took him captive after he lost the battle. Raikou too. They were both unconscious by the time the smoke had cleared."

Even the Beast of Water pitched in on the topic. "When we took off to chase Donovan down, we were going to catch up with him at about the Burned Tower. But he did something to Akuji, and it ran like you wouldn't believe. I only wish I had that kind of speed."

"Entei, wouldn't your Extremespeed have been fast enough to catch up to him?" Ace asked.

"No. When I saw Akuji run, I was also in disbelief."

"I know all of you are very saddened that Josh and Raikou were taken hostage," Ho-oh continued, "but we need to start thinking of a way to get them back. I don't know where Donovan took them. Any ideas where Josh could be?"

The warriors contemplated with each other, brainstorming for ideas for nearly half an hour. They were all very concerned about Josh and Raikou, but felt helpless because they couldn't figure out any way to help him. Finally, Shalin spoke up. "What about that third door in the Temple of Kadessa? Where's that lead to?"

"Shalin, that's a great idea. When we sealed Akuji, we had to seal the Beast of Light, Zoltin, as well. We also sealed with Zoltin a warrior whose weapon gleamed with the power of Holy. The weapon was a powerful bow with holy arrows made to smite evil. In battle, the rider spent most of the time in the air, firing off arrow after arrow at his foes. He was Akuji's arch-enemy, and the one who kept it at bay long enough to allow us to seal them off. I don't know what will happen if we let them loose again. But we have few options at this point in time."

"So are you sending us to Kadessa again?" Ace asked.

"I have little choice, Ace. You must go there. I'll fly with you, for I'm the only one who can open the seal."

Cut Music

The Beasts raced down the tower walkway and toward the Forbidden Land. This time, however, there was a wind on the other side of the mountain, resulting in a sandstorm that would impair progress in crossing. "How are we going to get across here in this sandstorm?" Shalin asked everyone.

Ace had a bold idea. "Just cover your eyes and let your Beast guide you across here." All three riders put one hand over their eyes as the Beasts ran at a slower pace than normal. Though the Pokémon never exceeded seventy miles per hour, the hands of the riders were still irritated from the shifting sand smacking them. They had to endure over an hour of this before reaching the temple where Zoltin had been sealed. "God, I'm glad that's over with," Shalin said in relief. "My hands are killing me!"

Cue Music: "Royal Capital Kadessa" - Legend of Dragoon

They advanced to the center of the temple, where the two open portals were located. The final sealed door, in the center, had a sun-shaped marking. Ho-oh filled in the outline of the marking with Sacred Fire. Slowly, the door slid into the ground. Unlike before, this time there was no portal. Instead, a region of Kadessa unaffected by the passage of time had been revealed. Half of the bricks were coated with gold, and there was an eerie fog to the place. "Let's go," Aravan said. Ho-oh waited in the central chamber as the Beast Riders entered the section of Kadessa untouched by outsiders for many centuries.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alana
August 13th, 2005, 11:48 AM
Finally Zoltin were emerge. I wonder who his rider will be. Please post the next chapter soon. I can't wait to read it.

RaikouRider243
August 14th, 2005, 09:21 AM
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 12: Behind The Seal

After breaking the seal on the untouched section of Kadessa, the Beast Riders were stunned at what they saw: a shard of a city of incredible beauty. It also had many technologies the world had never seen before, including two-way transporters powered by psychic energy extracted from Pokémon. "Josh would be fascinated by this," Aravan said. "It's a good thing he's not here, or we would never find Zoltin. He'd just keep studying this place." Ace jumped off Entei's back, then advanced across the chamber to find one of the transporters. At the far end of the chamber, there was a large, circular floor tile glowing green. "Hey, guys, come check this out!" he announced. The other Beast Riders followed him, but did not dismount. Entei slowly met up with the group, feeling nervous about being in a land not touched by humans in such a long time.

There was a stone tube above the green tile. Ace stepped onto the tile, wondering what it was. He became encased in a glowing ball of psychic energy, and moved through the tube to another, similar transporter in the next room. "What just happened here?" Shalin asked.

"I don't know," her Beast responded, "but I think we should follow them." One by one, the other two Beast Riders, as well as the riderless Entei, stepped on the glowing floor panel. They all emerged in a very large space. "A tall structure, with several rows of benches all around..." Shalin observed.

Ace noticed a smell in the air that was different than before. "This air...it smells like blood. Something's not right here." He realized what this space was for. "This place must have been a colosseum. Ho-oh and Josh both talked about something like this." He drew his sword, still lacking Entei's flames. "The population here must have been very savage with their Pokémon, and their prisoners of war." When they had walked halfway to the teleportation tile, three Houndoom were jumping at them from behind.

Cue Music: "Ruin Battle" - Legend of Dragoon

"I knew something wasn't right," the Entei Rider said in confirmation. "Aravan, take it away." Suicune shot a huge spray of water out of its mouth, slamming one of the canines into the back wall. The force of the water blast scared the other two dogs away.

Cut Music

Cue Music: "Ruin Victory" - Legend of Dragoon

"That was easy," Aravan said. "But I didn't think there would be creatures in here waiting to attack." He drew the Crystal Brand, also lacking its arctic powers. "Stay focused, and be prepared for attack. Let's continue."

Cut Music

Cue Music: "Royal Capital Kadessa" - Legend of Dragoon

All of the rows, except for the one on top, were too narrow for the Beasts to walk on. Midori and Suicune asked for their riders to dismount. After the three riders were on foot again, their Pokémon accumulated speed from a running start, and scaled all four rows of standing room. They had to wait several miuntes for their riders to get to the top, where the warp pad to the next room was located.

Upon scaling the top, Ace started to comment on the architecture of the colosseum. "At least they could have used stairs! It's a lot easier to have stairs than walking all the way around this place four times just to get to the top!" he said, panting.

The next transporter led to a fork. "Anyone have a coin?" Aravan asked.

"We don't need a coin," Shalin replied. "Let's just take the path on the right." It led to a chamber with a series of raised stages. There were gaps between them that were too wide to jump across. Ace and Aravan sheathed their blades and mounted their Pokémon again. Shalin was scared. Everyone there could tell by the look in her eyes. The two young men crossed the chamber leading to the next transporter. "These things are everywhere..." Ace mumbled to himself. He then shouted back to the Midori Rider. "Shalin, everything will be fine. If I can do this, so can you! We can't turn back now, or we'll be giving up on Ho-oh, which is not acceptable!"

"Shalin, I won't miss," her Beast comforted her. "We practiced jumping before, in that field. You handled me perfectly. Remember?"

"Of course I remember it. But this is different. A wrong move here, and--"

"I know. You know what? How about I just strap you in, and you just relax. You don't need to control me across here. I can jump across these on my own."

"All right." At that, Midori wrapped her vines around Shalin to prevent her from falling off. Once she made the first leap out, Midori didn't stop moving for a second. She never stopped to align her next leap. She just flowed into the next leap. "You're quick!" the rider complimented as they met up with the rest of the group.

"I have to be. But I'm glad you enjoy this. Not many people enjoy this kind of speed."

The two paths joined together after the transporter, leading to a chamber different from the others. It was the heart of the temple. The wall panels alternated between gold and silver coatings, and the fog thickened. The Beast Riders slowly approached the back of the chamber. "Who's there?!" a young, male, teenage voice inquired.

Cut Music

"What was that?!" the three riders said simultaneously as Shalin and Ace flinched. As they slowly guided their Beasts, the figure became more clear. It was a male human being. "Who's there?!" he exclaimed again, then turned around. Seeing the three Beast Riders, he tried to pull a gleaming bow and arrow set out of the rock behind him. "Who are you, to be taking control of my friends' Beasts? I thought the war was over so long ago. Apparently not. Now feel the force of the Light!!!" the young warrior in a lightweight coat of silver armor exclaimed. He tried to pull out the weapon. When it became loose, the hole it was in before started to give off a bright light. "Oh, no...I thought he was gone! Why is Grand Jewel here?!" Defenseless without the bow and arrow set, he ran toward the intruders, hoping they were peaceful. "Who are you, and what's happening here?" Shalin asked the young man.

"I am Eron, and apparently you're not here to harm me. But we have no time to explain now. You think you can fight this guy off and get my stuff up there?"

"What is that guy?"

"He's Grand Jewel, guardian of the Lightbringer--"

"Lightbringer?!" Aravan interrupted. "Would that make you--"

"No time!" Right at that point, the rest of the guardian rose up from the ground. It was no more than a large, tall rock with gems in it, in addition to the Lightbringer and Holy Arrows sticking out of it. However, a lot of energy extracted from Pokémon flowed inside it. It would use that energy to repel enemies from the sacred chamber the Beast Riders were in. Eron took the medium-sized, white shield from off his back and put it into his left hand. "Here it comes!" he hollered.

Cue Music: "Minor Boss" (http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/sony/ps1/LODBossBattle.mid) - Legend of Dragoon

Ace and Entei rushed into the fight right away. Taking out the weakened Crimson Blade and slashing at the guardian did little damage. However, this was a decoy to set up a close-range Fire Blast from Entei's huge mouth. After the attack hit, Eron backed up. "Get away!"

"The name's Ace!" the Entei Rider yelled back. The Holy Arrows sticking out of Grand Jewel's head started glowing. A large cloud formed above all of the Beast Riders. Intense rays of holy light in the colors of yellow, pink, blue, and white came out of the cloud, harming everyone. The light continued to intensify for the several seconds it was there. Ace in particular was in pain from the attack. "What was that?!"

"It's the Dancing Ray!" Eron yelled back. "Most of the things this guy does are Light attacks, just like me. If I had my weapon..."

Midori darted forward and absorbed solar energy while Shalin attacked with the Rose Whip. It was more effective than Ace's sword, but still not a good means of offense. Suicune generated a gust of freezing wind, attacking both of the weak points of the rock guardian. Aravan continued to sit atop Suicune, defending himself.

The green Beast stepped back, then unleashed the solar energy at the foe. Part of its body had chipped off. "Keep it up, this thing's half dead!" Aravan shouted.

"Not yet," Eron muttered to himself. Seeing a burst of holy light from both weapons stuck in Grand Jewel, the young archer knew what was going on. "Everyone get back, quickly!" There was no time to escape. Seven pods dropped down from within the fog, surrounding the Beast Riders. They each emitted a column of intense light, one in each color of the rainbow. After making three revolutions around the party, the lights angled themselves at each other, creating a glorious glow at the center of the circle they formed. This is exactly where Ace and Entei stood. The light blinded all of them, and the intensity was so high that the Beast and its rider collapsed. "Ace!!" Shalin yelled. "Dammit!" Aravan added. He and Suicune were close to the fallen allies, but Shalin and Midori were just inside the attack radius, receiving only minimal damage. Suicune emitted a blue glow that enveloped everyone in that attack radius. The blue aura boasted a healing power, but it passed over Ace and Entei.

"This battle plan should work," Eron said to everyone. "Just keep this sequence up, and you'll shatter it eventually. Just stay focused!"

"Suicune, I need to help out up there!" Aravan asked Suicune if he could go up there.

"Aravan, we can't. I need to stay back and get Ace and Entei on their feet again, or we'll never get anywhere."

Shalin told Midori to keep shooting Solarbeams at the adversary. The rider kept smacking the foe with her whip. It was a long and arduous fight. Though Grand Jewel was powerful, all it could do was hover in one place and take punishment. Moreover, it was slow to collect energy for counterattacking. This enabled Shalin to attack again while Suicune emitted another healing aura, this time focused on Ace. The wounded warrior in red armor slowly stood up.

The room became darker than before as the bow and arrow set glowed again. The weapon absorbed the stamina of those who were still able to fight, making their attacks and defenses weaker than before. "Shoot, that will not help them one bit," Eron thought. "This is exactly what it does. Those Spectral Flashes will really start to hurt them a lot now...and they already did the first time. God, I hope they can do this."

Now that Ace was back up, Suicune could focus its efforts on Entei. It refreshed the Beast's energy with another cool aura. With everyone up and ready to fight, the entire group dashed toward the foe at full force. Beams of ice, flame, and solar power were relentlessly fired toward Grand Jewel. More of its body fell off as its energy supply began to drop at a considerable rate. Aravan smacked it with his sword, but the effectivenes of the attack had dropped considerably.

Grand Jewel's green gem glowed brightly as a swirling whirlwind enveloped Aravan, sucking him up into the air and sending him crashing toward the ground. The whirlwind stopped when Entei shot a schrching fireball toward the magical being. The rest of the Beast Riders went all out once more, and their Pokémon fired Solarbeams, Ice Beams, and fireballs until it ceased functioning and crashed to the ground. Shalin delivered the finishing blow with a few swift cracks of her whip.

Cut Music

"Now that that's over," Aravan started again, "Who are you?"

Cue Music: "The Wingly Forest" - Legend of Dragoon

The young man ignored the Suicune Rider and walked over to his bow and arrow set. When he grabbed the arrows and put them into the quiver he carried on his back, a sacred light shone from the back of the chamber, blinding everyone but Eron. When the light faded, he was holding the Lightbringer in his left hand and standing next to a friendly-looking, white Beast. Eron started again, "You can't be ordinary people to defeat Grand Jewel. I recognize you now. I thought I was the only one of my heritage left after the war. Ever since Ho-oh locked me up, I've been trying to figure out what's been happening in the world. I didn't realize it had been seven hundred long years since the war ended. But seeing you there on those Pokémon...you remind me of my friends who perished in the war. This Beast standing next to me is Zoltin, the Beast of Life. It is the holy counterpart to Akuji, which I think is the reason why you have come here in spite of the danger the quest would have for you."

"For a legendary Pokémon, Zoltin's pretty cute," Shalin said affectionately.

"I was never considered to be attractive on the outside. Only on the inside. But if that's the way you think, that's fine with me. If you think this is beautiful, you just wait."

Eron was about as tall as Josh: shorter than Aravan, but still tall. He was a tall man for his age of only seventeen years in the biological sense. Temporally speaking, he was seven hundred thirty-four years old, but that was because when he was sealed away, time virtually stopped behind the seal. The rider was actually taller than the Beast he rode, though it was only by about seven inches. This made it very easy to mount or dismount Zoltin quickly. The white Beast had the face of a griffin, with an incredible heart of devotion to Eron, its rider. It carried behind its head a gorgeous array of gold and white hairs that gleamed in the light. Its tail was white as snow, long and thin.

"Are you saying that you were part of the original Great Pokémon War that my friend Josh had been rambling on and on about?!" Ace hollered.

"Yes, I am. That entire war was a bloodbath, and nearly destroyed the entire world. The war set back mankind three centuries. Thousands of human lives were lost at the hands of Pokémon like Charmander, Fearow, Pikachu, and Pokémon of the like."

Shalin got into the discussion. "Those are considered to be weak Pokémon today. People must not have known how to use Pokémon back then."

"Oh, they sure did know how to use them. Like I said before, the war was a bloodbath that lasted for years. When I battled with Akuji at Kadessa, where we stand now, we destroyed the entire city before we were sealed up. Their powers clearly exceeded those of the other Pokémon. You have seen the destruction we caused. That's why Zoltin hasn't shown its face up until now. We've been able to keep busy together, but we weren't expecting guests."

"You know, I really think that Josh would like to meet you," Aravan suggested. "He wrote an incredible paper about the war, and I think he would like to learn more from an eyewitness--no, a hero of the war. But we don't have time to discuss it now. I think we should learn more about Zoltin rather than your history."

"Very well," Eron responded. He then climbed atop Zoltin's back, but sat in the middle of the Beast's body instead of closer to the front. This puzzled the Beast Riders for a few seconds, until the archer revealed the purpose of doing so. Zoltin spread out the beautiful, white wings on the sides of its body. Everyone who witnessed it was impressed. "I heard it can fly," Shalin said. "Is that true?"

Eron didn't respond. Zoltin got a running start down the hallway, but it was terribly slow compared to the other Beasts. "For a legendary Beast, Zoltin's pretty slow," Ace observed.

"Oh, you haven't seen anything yet." Zoltin was circling the chamber at about seventy miles per hour. Its rider exclaimed, "Zoltin! Jump!" The white, griffinlike Beast leaped into the air and started flapping its wings. It flew about twelve feet off the ground before levelling off. Though it continued to flap its wings, it was moving its legs as if it was running across land. But it was clearly in the air. After levelling off its body, Zoltin picked up amazing speed, and quickly accelerated to a speed much like Raikou's land speed. "Eron, you don't need to tell me outloud to jump. Remember, when riding on my back, I can just tell what you want to do next without you having to say it. Has it been so long that you forgot?"

"Wow. That is really cool, Eron!" Aravan complimented.

"It feels just like I'm racing across land up here. It's like there's a flat surface where it's running slash flying, whichever you see it as."

"I see it as both," Ace added, "and that's what makes it so cool! Can I fly on its back right now?"

Zoltin descended to the ground slowly, and reduced its speed gradually, keeping its rider comfortable. The Beast landed on the ground and slowed to a stop. When it retracted its wings, they seemed to simply disappear. "Maybe some other time. But Zoltin has sensed from your thoughts that Akuji has come back into the world, and had taken Josh captive. Where is Raikou? I'm assuming Josh is the Raikou Rider. From what I heard from Zoltin, he bears a great resemblance to Drake, one of my best friends; that is, while he was alive. He was killed in battle, though. I would love to meet your friend Josh. We have our different reasons, but I think we should focus on getting Josh out of Akuji's clutches." Eron pushed his Beast up to speed, then it started to fly. It took off, then slowed down, hovering in place, wings outstretched. It was using a psychic power to hold itself aloft. "The most logical place to look would be behind Akuji's seal. That's where it would most likely be keeping Josh. Shall we go?"

At that, the four Beast Riders moved out of Zoltin's chamber. Though it was a long way back, Zoltin's holy power helped make the return trip from that section of Kadessa easier. Whenever the group encountered creatures left in the temple, Zoltin gave off an intense light that was used as a cover for the Beast Riders to flee from. Ace, Aravan, and Shalin continued to be spellbound by the white, flying Beast the entire way they retraced their steps.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alana
August 20th, 2005, 07:45 AM
I took too long to reply again. Sorry about that. Well that makes all six, unless there's another beast somewhere we don't yet know about. I doubt it though but you never know. Post the next chapter soon.

RaikouRider243
August 20th, 2005, 10:00 AM
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 13: Through the Gate

During the entire ride out of the hidden section of Kadessa, Ace, Aravan, and Shalin could do nothing but stare at the holy, flying Beast overhead. It seemed to have a magical property that attracted the attention of people. Perhaps it was the agility of the Beast. Perhaps it was the fact that it had an innocent-looking face. More likely to attract attention, however, were the huge wings and the ability of Zoltin to fly with a rider on its back. Eron was the only one actively brainstorming about Josh's possible locations. For the other riders, that was a subordinate topic.

"I have no idea where Donovan could have possibly taken Josh," Shalin said.

"Shalin," Aravan replied, "I don't think any of us do."

"Then what do we do?"

Eron came up with an idea. "How about we just forget about Josh for now? The longer and harder we think about it, the longer it will take us to find him. And we can't really do much about Akuji without him. So what should we do in the meantime?"

"How about we relax and just have fun?" Ace joked.

"Ace! We don't have time!" Aravan smartly remarked.

"Just kidding!"

Eron thought of the idea of taking a break. "Suicune Rider...oops, how silly can I be?! I forgot to ask you all of your names. Introduce yourselves."

"Ace."

"Aravan."

"Shalin."

"Very nice to meet you all. Anyhow, Aravan, don't discount Ace's suggestion."

"It was a joke!" the Entei Rider said defensively.

"That may be, but it's actually not a half-bad idea."

The shy Midori spoke up. "May I suggest we go to my home jungle? I can show you around. There's a nice, open space for you boys to play around."

"We really can't do much right now, so why not go?" the Zoltin Rider agreed. At that, he slowed his airborne mount down, letting Shalin take the lead. When they got back to the chamber with the many gaps, everyone stopped.

"I don't want to lose anyone here. Ace, I said that in the back chamber that you would get a chance to ride on Zoltin's back at some point in the future. Well, I don't want anyone missing a jump in here. All of you will get a chance to fly across here."

Immediately after Eron made the announcement, Ace leaped off Entei's back and charged toward the holy Beast. He pleaded with its rider. "Me first!!"

Zoltin was somewhat embarrassed by Ace's determination, but did not move as the young man in red armor mounted the white Beast. He tried to force Zoltin to run forward before flying into the air, as if he were atop Entei. The holy creature was not as tough as Ace's Beast. Not being used to the extent of the rider's actions, Zoltin refused to respond to them at all.

"What did I do wrong?"

"Zoltin is not controlled like that," Eron answered. "You cannot budge it around like you do Entei. There is a reason Entei is that physically strong. Zoltin is nowhere near that in terms of strength. When you are on its back, just relax. If you don't try to force it around, it'll know where you want to go."

Ace tried again. He slightly loosened his grip on Zoltin, and didn't try to turn it in any direction. The white-winged Beast backed up, then got a running start and took off into the air. The feeling of riding the Beast of Light was exciting for Ace. It ran just above the ground, as if there were a hidden floor there. But there was clearly no ground where it was running. When they reached the other end of the room, Zoltin hovered in the air as Ace jumped off its back.

Knowing not to make the same mistake that Ace did, Aravan quietly climbed behind Zoltin's wings and peacefully flew into the air, crossing the chamber in the same fashion. Shalin, however, was extremely nervous when her turn came to cross the chamber through flight. "I...I don't think I can hold on to Zoltin," she struggled to say.

Eron comforted the young Midori Rider. "Shalin, I see exactly where you come from. Midori has that safeguard to prevent riders from falling off her back, and you have been raised as a Beast Rider that way. I think that you should start practicing riding Midori without her strapping you onto her back. For now, we have to go with what we have. You will have to fly without that safeguard. Just make sure your grip is firm and your hands don't slip. Everything will be fine."

She slowly walked up to Zoltin, still shaking from her fear. It tried to comfort her and calm her fears. "Shalin, I won't let you fall off my back. You know what? To reassure you, I'll even go slow. Just hang on when I jump and you should be fine."

The Midori Rider mounted Zoltin. Her heart was pounding as Eron's Beast started to run and eventually leap into the air. When it jumped, Shalin felt it and panicked. "Shalin, calm down," it said to her. "I'll get you across here, and you won't have to worry about flying again until you want to." To her, the short interval of less than a minute seemed like an eternity. After she had safely crossed, she let out a big sigh of relief while dismounting. Zoltin turned around to pick Eron up.

After a long trek back, all four Beasts and their riders made it to the Chamber of the Seal, where Shalin had found Midori many days ago. All of them borrowed the speed of their Beasts once more as they entered the dark vortex on the left, pair by pair.

"It seems like forever since we last came here," Midori commented as the two of them entered the jungle that was her home. The other Beast Riders quickly emerged from the exit portal.

"What is this place?" Aravan asked.

"This is where Midori took me when I rode her for the first time," the green Beast's rider responded. That was when Josh was around. I really miss him...and his Raikou. It's just not the same without him."

"Let's stop thinking about Josh, Raikou, and what's going on with them right now. In the meantime, let's just relax and look around this place." The four mounted warriors pushed their Pokémon forward, but Midori left everyone in the dust.

"Shalin, wait up!" Ace yelled.

"No way! Midori, can we go faster?" Shalin was acting like a girl again, with the same amount of maturity as she had before her vision in the computer lab on campus.

"Looks like you want to have fun just as much as I do!" The green cheetah sped up even more, out of sight of her fellow Pokémon.

Ace shouted for Shalin again. She ignored him and continued speeding through the jungle. Aravan felt that Ace was being too serious about Josh and had too much on his mind. "Ace, let her have fun. Shouldn't you be enjoying yourself, too? It's not often that we get the chance to just race around on our fastest Pokémon."

"You're right."

It took the others a long time to catch up to Shalin and enter the open field north of the jungle. She was still astride Midori, but her arms were crossed. She was very impatient. "You slowpokes! What took you so long?"

Ace snapped back at Shalin. "Oh, are you looking for a race?"

Entei and Midori managed to ignore their riders' immaturity as the two of them sped off toward the northern building where Shalin found the Rose Whip. Eron started thinking about riding Zoltin at his leisure for the first time in his life.

"I think we also need to take a hint from Shalin. We've never really raced together before, have we, Zoltin?"

"We do fly quite fast during battle, but that's nothing compared to what I am capable of doing. Since this is our first time together that we have truly been in a peaceful situation, I don't see a reason to withhold my full flight speed to you. You think you can handle it, Eron?"

"There is only one way to find out. Let's fly!" Zoltin spread its large wings and started running into the large field. When it reached peak land speed, it started flapping its wings and leaped into the air. Zoltin continued its acceleration upon taking off. Eron smiled for the first time since he found his Beast, during the ancient war. The smile turned to a grin as Zoltin further increased its flight speed to 120, 140, 160 miles per hour and beyond.

"You appear to be enjoying yourself."

"You bet I am. This is the most fun I've had in a long time. There truly is nothing like flying on a legendary Beast. It's an incredible, unique experience flying on your back."

"This is how fast I had ran when we had to rush back to Kadessa to battle with Akuji and Lloyd. I knew you were scared of my speed back then, but it was necessary to fly that fast to defend the city in time. But you don't appear to be scared at all."

Zoltin continued to accelerate even further. It flapped its wings backward to increase its speed. The rider felt the force from the wings feed onto the Beast's body, and the flight started to feel wild. Eron liked the slightly rougher ride that the increased speed came with. It was running through the air at Raikou's top land speed. After this, the rider knew he was ready for the full force of his flying Pokémon. "Zoltin, Extremespeed," he said softly.

"Eron, I think you'll really enjoy this burst a lot." Small wings glowing with a bright light appeared on all of Zoltin's legs. It flapped the wings on its sides almost violently, entering Extremespeed. The force of the flapping wings caused the Beast to shake even harder than it did before. Though it was hard for Eron to hold on with his mount shaking as much as it was, he adapted to it fairly quickly. It turned around and started flying the opposite direction before Eron could comment.

"Zoltin, this is better than anything I had ever imagined. Exactly how fast are you flying right now, anyway?"

"Faster than Raikou runs in Extremespeed."

"That's amazing! I didn't think you were that fast!"

"I didn't think anyone would find the courage to push me to full speed."

Zoltin made two laps around the huge field in Extremespeed before meeting the other Beast Riders at the jungle sanctuary. It landed on the ground and let Eron jump off before entering. When they entered the building, Shalin heard a faint noise from the wall on the right. Upon closer examination, she heard human voices, one being familiar to her.

"**** it, Donovan, get Akuji away from me!" the voice yelled. "You idiot!!"

"Oh my god!! That's Josh's voice!" Shalin exclaimed.

"You're right!!" Aravan noticed for himself. "That is his voice! But why can we hear it from here?"

"Aravan," Eron started, "I know exactly where Josh is now. He's beyond the other vortex in the main hall outside of here. We need to go in there and find him."

At that, the four Beast Riders rushed out of the structure. Eron had Zoltin immediately take flight, and they all rushed into Extremespeed. They got out of the jungle in a relatively small amount of time. After exiting, they spent about five seconds going from one portal to the next.

The place the Beast Riders emerged was the same Dark Void Donovan took Josh to. Continuing the intense rush down the narrow hallway, a large shadow in the distance caught the warriors' eyes. Donovan saw that he had company, and prepared to deal with them. Several minutes later, the four drew their weapons and their Beasts scowled at Donovan. Their eyes almost seemed to stare at the very soul of the Akuji Rider. "Where is Josh?!" Ace yelled.

"Right here," Donovan responded. The gates of both prison cells dropped, revealing Josh and Raikou.

"I'm very happy to see you again, guys. Thanks so much for coming to rescue me," the long-confined Raikou Rider greeted them. He mounted Raikou and had it slowly walk toward his comrades. When he got within twenty feet of the Beast Riders, he unsheathed the Lightning Sword and quickly made a horizontal slash just barely above Raikou's head, firing an electrical pulse at all of the Beast Riders. Ace, Aravan, and Eron fell off the right side of each of their respective Beasts' backs. The Pokémon fell in the other direction. Midori and Shalin were the only ones able to stand up after receiving the intense shot of electricity.

Cue Music: "Prepare For Battle" (http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/sony/ps1/LODPREP.mid) - Legend of Dragoon

"Josh, whose side are you on?!" the Midori Rider asked. Josh didn't respond. She tried to talk to him again. "Josh, it's Shalin, one of your good friends! Can you hear me?"

The Raikou Rider was clearly far out of character. He responded by charging toward Shalin, sword drawn.

"Josh?! Somebody! Anybody! Help!!!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~

AbareMax
August 20th, 2005, 11:44 AM
I don't know how to say this without sounding offensive, but the colour thing...creative, but a bad idea. It's hard on the eyes to have to see that all of the time. Every writer has his/her own style, but this is just annoying.

Other than that little bit, I see no other problems with your fic. Ace seems to be a very cleverly created character. Don't stop writing, by any means. Just fix up some little minor things, and of course that major colour deal...

AbareMax

Alana
August 20th, 2005, 11:50 AM
Akuji's doing correct? Dark beast against light beast. Good against evil. The conflict really gets under way. :P Zoltin will need to interfer here I think. Shalin, Ace, Aravan, and Eron will need to help too. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that I've memorized names and places that other wise have no meaning to me? Who knows? Just please post the next chapter soon.

RaikouRider243
August 21st, 2005, 04:03 PM
...
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 14: The Enemy of My Enemy is...My Enemy?

Cue Music: "Major Boss" (http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/sony/ps1/LODMBOSS.mid) - Legend of Dragoon

Right when Josh was about to slash Shalin in the face, Midori started glowing a bright green, blinding Raikou and causing it to rear up. The light brought the three stunned Beast Riders to their senses. "I will not allow you to harm Shalin or any of her friends. At least not without going through me first!"

Without even saying anything to Josh or Shalin, the other three Beast Riders took out their Weapons. Eron readied his bow with a white arrow. "That doesn't scare me," Josh said defiantly. "You will never find it in your hearts to kill me!" At that, Raikou's thunderclouds started glowing brightly. The clouds shot off an array of sparks at Suicune. Aravan's Beast dodged to its left, but that was exactly what Josh planned. He quickly forced Raikou into an electrical tackle. The blitz was an undodgable assault, even for Suicune. It rammed into the creature head-on. While Aravan was still trying to recover his bearings from the impact of the attack, Josh jumped over Raikou's head. "Take this, fool!!" With that, he delivered a painful jumping slash with the Lightning Sword. The attack seemed to completely pierce Aravan's armor, leaving a huge gash in his upper-right arm. Suicune's skin was also pierced from the attack, although not as deep as Aravan's.

Ace commanded Entei to counter with a burst of flame as Suicune recovered and charged up a freezing beam. The Beast of Fire was clearly angry at Josh. "I hate to do this to you, but it's the only way to knock any sense into you, Josh." Despite that the attacks were fired from mid-range, the yellow, lightning-fast Beast jumped almost straight up right before the attacks were about to hit.

"Too slow!" Josh taunted them from his agile mount.

"He's a lot faster than I remember him," Aravan noted. "What can we do?"

Shalin and Midori were behind Raikou after the assault on the Suicune Rider. "Now is the time!" the green cheetah told her rider. It exhaled a toxic gas from its mouth, straight at Raikou. Josh was just outside of the attack range. Raikou started coughing and choking as Shalin edged Midori closer and smacked Raikou's rider with the thorny whip.

"Agh!!" Josh uttered. "You got lucky. But now the games are over. Raikou, is it time for the attack we discussed a short while ago?"

"Yes, it is."

Raikou's thunderclouds started glowing again, then it charged at Ace and Entei. Just before hitting them, it made a sharp turn to the left as Josh held his sword out to the right. Raikou circled Ace and Entei at remarkable speed, creating a swirling vortex of lightning. As the Beast ran faster, the vortex's suction power and electrical intensity increased exponentially. By the time Josh was about to become dizzy from the super-fast circular motion, the twister had lifted the Beast of Fire and its now unseated rider high into the air. Raikou broke out of the circular motion as Josh retracted his sword. Ace came crashing down to the ground hard. Entei's fall caused a brief tremor. Both bodies were covered in electrical burns. They were unconscious.

"What power!" Eron exclaimed in disbelief. "He really is much closer to Raikou than Drake was. I've never seen anything that powerful in my life!"

The attack took a lot of energy out of Josh and Raikou. They were breathing more heavily, but were still agile as before. Suicune shot an arctic beam from its mouth at Raikou's face. The radius of the beam encompassed both Beast and Rider, but barely hurt them.

"Now, Aravan!" Suicune told its rider.

Aravan positioned the blade of the Crystal Brand through the crystal on Suicune's head. From the sword emerged a massive blizzard that nearly blew Josh off Raikou's back. Both of them received considerable damage. Quickly recovering his balance, Josh commanded Raikou to encase itself in electricity and charge at Suicune. Josh added a slash from his sword to the assault. The blade missed Suicune's neck by inches. Aravan, however, was hit with the attack's full force. His grip on the back of the Beast of Water loosened enough for him to fall off. He fell to the ground, unconscious.

"Aravan!!" Shalin yelled. Suicune shed a few tears for its rider before resuming combat.

"Raikou, next one. Aim for Midori!" Josh ordered. He was a vicious fighter, but clearly bossed his Beast around for the entire duration of combat. It fired another Thunderbolt, this one at Midori. It missed low.

Eron and Zoltin were watching the battle from a distance. "Eron, they need us. Get on my back, now."

"But aren't you too weak for me to be riding you? You said you could barely stand up."

"At this point, we don't have much choice. Besides, I think I have recovered some strength since we were attack. Let's go!"

Reluctantly, Eron climbed astride his white Beast and entered the field of battle. He drew a shining arrow from the quiver and readied a shot at the rider of the Legend of Thunder. Eron let go of the bowstring, and the shot flew straight at Josh. Raikou attempted to get Josh out of the way of the shot, but the arrow hit him in the left leg. When the arrow made contact, a blinding, holy light eminated from the contact point.

Donovan was sitting atop Akuji's back, watching the battle. When the holy arrow hit Josh in the leg, the black Beast flinched, startling the rider. "No... not this again! That light!!"

"It hurts my eyes!" Donovan shouted.

"It hurts me everywhere!"

Raikou's thunderclouds started glowing again. Instead of firing another Thunderbolt, it summoned a lightning storm to the battleground. Josh held up his sword and waited for a lightning bolt to strike it. When the sword absorbed the lightning, Josh redirected it at the remaining three Beasts. The attack seemed to bounce off Midori, and Shalin, though less so. Everyone else took massive damage, particularly Suicune.

Knowing it was in trouble, Suicune restored its own energy by surrounding itself with a blue, healing light. "Josh," Raikou said, "Midori will become a problem. Let's weaken her and get it out of the way." Its thunderclouds were still glowing brightly. The lightning-fast Beast shot another Thunderbolt at Midori. The target jumped over the attack. Raikou shot another lightning stream at the same target, only this time from a closer range. It produced the same result. Knowing that this method of attacking would not work, Raikou charged at Midori, fangs wide open. Shalin, demonstrating considerable skill with the Rose Whip, surrounded Josh's body with the weapon, unseating him from Raikou. Poison seeped into his body as the thorns pierced his skin.

"Way to go, Shalin!" Eron said. "You got him off Raikou's back! Now we can't let him remount."

"Right."

Raikou, now riderless, charged at Suicune with an electrical tackle. It missed again. Zoltin charged up a beam of holy light from its mouth and shot it at Josh. When he was hit with the blast of light, Akuji flinched again.

Raikou summoned another lightning storm, repeating the same procedure with Josh. His sword absorbed another lightning bolt, this one carrying more electrical charge than the previous. The attack left more widespread electrical burns on the bodies of all of the other Beast Riders and their Pokémon. Suicune quickly reversed the damage with another refreshing, blue light.

"Shalin, we have to be aggressive," Midori suggested. It then shot a beam of solar energy, weakened by the now-diminishing thunderstorm, at Josh. Knowing he could not get out of the way on foot, he braced himself for the attack, thus minimizing the damage. Because he blocked against most of the attack, his recovery time dropped enough to remount his Pokémon.

Raikou leaped into the air and generated another large thundercloud. Lightning started to strike the battleground. Midori, Zoltin, and Suicune managed to dodge all the bolts of electricity, but it was a diversion. At the apex of the thirty-foot leap, Josh jumped off his Pokémon and dove into Suicune with his sword pointing straight at the ground. The weapon pierced Suicune's tough skin and barely avoided its heart. The amount of electrical energy and pressure from Josh's sword was too much for Suicune to take. The blue cheetah fell to the ground. It looked lifeless.

"Had enough yet?" Josh asked.

"I did not know he was that strong," Zoltin said. "But we have to fight until we knock some sense into him. It's the only way to communicate with him."

Shalin and Midori kept Raikou and Josh busy with Solarbeams, whiplashes, and other forms of attack long enough for Zoltin to fire another holy beam at the Raikou Rider. When it approached for a second attack, Raikou bit into the holy Beast's side, where the right wing was located. Though there were clear signs of Josh's and Raikou's weakness, Shalin and Eron would not be able to last long enough to win the battle.

Raikou was getting tired from being hit by Midori's solar energy blasts. "Josh, this isn't going as planned. Should we combine our forces again?"

"That's not a bad idea right now," the Beast's rider replied. The large thundercloud was still hanging in the air. Josh had Raikou run circles clockwise around Midori, Zoltin, and their riders as he held his sword out. The power of the blade and the speed of the Beast formed a swirling tornado of lightning that sucked up the entire party. Massive sparks from the crackling twister cut through their skin as they whirled around. But Josh wasn't done. He pulled hard on Raikou's hair, causing it to sound a loud roar and enter Extremespeed. The twister increased in strength, and the electricity further intensified. Shalin and Eron were screaming in pain the entire time. After the Raikou Rider's right arm got tired, he retracted his weapon, and the vortex stopped. Eron, Zoltin, Shalin, and even Midori had wounds from electrical burns all over their bodies. Shalin tried to stand up, but couldn't. "Eron! It's up to you!" With those words, the Midori Rider fainted.

Eron wanted to remount Zoltin, but the white Beast protested. "Eron," it started, "I can barely stand up. I cannot carry you on my back, but I can still fight. Stay strong..."

He knew he only had one more chance. Eron took out an arrow from his quiver and shot it at Raikou's face. To his dismay, the Beast evaded the arrow by jumping over it.

Eron's glorious arrow flew under Raikou. The last chance he had to save Josh was for naught. Or so everyone thought. When Raikou jumped up to let the arrow sail under itself, the shot landed right in Akuji's face. The arrow's light spread into six beams that surrounded the Beast of Darkness with a holy light that was a deadly poison to it. The poison was strong enough to stun Akuji. Zoltin followed up with another pair of holy beams. This double hit of light ate at Akuji's evil heart.

"I will give you one more chance," Josh said, ready to plunge his sword into Eron's heart. "Let us have peace, or I will kill you."

"Josh, stop this immediately!"

"Fine. Your life ends here." When Josh was about to murder the Zoltin Rider, the blasts of holy light fired at Akuji broke its control over Josh and Raikou. The Raikou Rider regained his senses just before he was about to kill Eron.

(Cut Music)

"Where...am...I...? And why am I about to kill this man? And where's Raikou..." He looked around, only to see the destruction he had caused under mind control. "Ace! Shalin! Aravan! What happened?! Who did this to you?!" He immediately sheathed his blade.

Eron explained what had happened. "You had been brainwashed by Akuji."

"You mean that evil Beast that Donovan was riding?!"

"Yes. Precisely. You and Raikou both were brainwashed, and were forced to fight against all of us."

"You mean...I... killed Ace and the rest?"

"They are not dead. Zoltin senses that they are still alive...barely."

Josh started crying. "Why did I have to do this?!"

"Josh, calm down. There was nothing you could do. You weren't yourself."

"What happened between the time I was captured and now? And who are you?"

"Remember Ho-oh talking about a Beast of Light? I am its rider, Eron. I have Zoltin, the Beast of Light, to thank for breaking the mind control over you and saving my life. I'll explain everything to you. Listen carefully.

I was sealed away with Zoltin during the time of the war. I was trying to save Johto, and possibly the world, from falling into evil clutches. I only had one opponent: Akuji, the Beast who controlled you before. The man riding it into battle claimed he wanted to use Akuji to create a utopia. What he instead would have created would be a world of total chaos, and an absence of peace."

"So you fought in the Great Pokémon War?! That war ended seven hundred years ago!"

"Ah, but behind the seal, time passes very slowly. Though I am temporally over seven hundred seventeen years old, I am biologically only seventeen years old. Back in my day, you were a man at age thirteen or fourteen. Anyway, you will need my assistance, and the assistance of my best friend, Zoltin, to defeat Akuji. Josh, mount Raikou now. We need to get to the bottom of this."

"But what about Shalin and the others?"

"They will have to wait. Midori can take care of them."

"I...trust you. You're much more knowledgable about warfare than I will ever be."

"The reason you need me to win in battle against them is Akuji has only one weakness. And that weakness is to Zoltin's holy blasts and my sacred arrows bearing the same light. I will explain everything else later. Right now, time is of the essence. We need to deal with Akuji for good." He turned back to Zoltin. "Can you carry me on your back yet?"

The Pokémon was clearly worn out from the battle. "Sorry, Eron. I can't."

"No matter. Josh..." Eron started.

"Yes?"

"Can you help me get on Raikou? Zoltin's too weak for me to ride. I'd feel safer with you."

"Fine. Raikou, let us advance." With that, Josh tightened his clutch on Raikou, causing them to take off deeper into the void.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
...

Alana
August 21st, 2005, 04:32 PM
^_^ The battle between Zoltin and Akuji will begin but it'll be more of a battle between Raikou and Akuji. I would have thought that the arrows in the head and heart would have finished Akuji but it's too strong for that again. Please post the next chapter again.

RaikouRider243
August 21st, 2005, 05:10 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 15: Akuji Rejects Donovan

When Zoltin's holy powers had broken the mind control over Josh, Akuji was furious. Its body began glowing with a black flame, showing its anger. It started yelling at its rider. "Donovan, I thought you said your plan was foolproof, if I am not mistaken. So why is Josh no longer under our control?"

The tall senior knew he could not answer the question; the situation was out of his hands. "Um..."

The black creature continued. "Why didn't you intervene? You just sat on my back, acting like a coward."

"Akuji, I thought Josh could handle it himself. He was knocking them down, one after another. In fact, he was about to do exactly what we needed to get done from the start. Only Josh and Eron stand. So why are you mad at me?"

"Because you didn't finish the job when you knew full well that I couldn't control Josh under the conditions we were in."

"You never told me that you couldn't continue to control him. I would have done differently had I known that."

The black flame became larger, engulfing all of Donovan's body except his head. "Donovan, that's horse crap and you know it. I thought there was something special about you, and I was right. You had done very well with me...until this battle. You were just sitting on my back, watching the battle, when you could have finished Eron off before that arrow hit me in the chest. We are supposed to be a team, and you are not holding up your end of the partnership."

"People make mistakes!"

"There was no room for error in this plan from the start." Without warning, Akuji darted across the chamber at full gallop--without making any effort to hold Donovan on its back. With no protection against the speed, the moving air between the Beast and Donovan lifted him from his mount. Donovan was literally holding on to Akuji for his life as the Beast sprinted around the hallway at over 300 miles per hour. He could not find the strength or mental stability to do anything else.

"Akuji! Why?!"

"You had your chance before, Donovan. I have had enough of your resistance. Die!!" At the instant Akuji said "Die," it burst into Extremespeed and made a sharp right turn. Donovan's fingers slipped off Akuji's mane during the sharp right turn, sending him flying into the left wall at over 300 miles per hour. The incredible amount of momentum Donovan possessed crashed a section of the left wall down, with the bricks from the wall burying his body, which was covered in black flames. By the time the section of the wall collapsed, however, he was already dead.

"I thought he was special. But he turned out to be a power-hungry moron, just like everyone else." The pitch-black Beast started to run to the other end of the warped chamber.

---------------

Meanwhile, back at the former battle arena, Suicune had regained consciousness. It quickly noticed that nearly all of its allies, including Aravan, had fallen in the skirmish. "Aravan! Everyone! I don't know why Josh has done this to you, but arise again, friends!" Its entire body started glowing in a cyan light. From its body radiated an enormous amount of healing energy targeted at Ace, Aravan, Shalin, Midori, and Entei, as well as the two Beasts and riders that were still standing.

After absorbing Suicune's light for nearly six minutes, everyone who fell in that battle was able to stand up again. Slowly but surely, Suicune had restored the strength of all five Beasts and their riders. Suicune told everyone to mount their Beasts and follow Josh and Raikou down the hallway. When they saw Josh standing next to Raikou, but not mounted, they knew he was back to his old self. He noticed that everyone was conscious and well again, but he was too interested in how everything came to be. He had even stopped Raikou to talk with Eron about the war, allowing everyone else to catch up. An even bigger clue was that he had sheathed his sword earlier. No one could remember anything about the fight except who their enemy was. Eron used this as an opportunity to answer Josh's questions he had asked earlier.

"Everyone, let me recall my experiences in battle before the seal that ended the Great Cataclysm. Even after centuries, I can still picture it clearly."

*************

Cue Music: "Cipher Peon Battle" - Pokémon Colosseum

"General Drake, I have returned from behind enemy lines. It seems as if we aren't the only ones that have these extraordinarily strong Pokémon to help us wage the war. When I was flying, Zoltin alerted me to a dark presence in the middle of the enemy's territory. It was a really big Pokémon, and apparently had incredible power. Zoltin said it could sense the dark presence from a number of miles away. I couldn't make out very much because I had to fly high in order to stay out of the sights of the enemy. Had I descended to a lower altitude, I would have been spotted for sure."

Drake stood up out of his seat at the far end of the table in the war room. "Did you see anything else of interest?"

"The enemy had regiment after regiment of troops ready to fight, and most of them had Pokémon of respectable strength standing by. Some of the regiments were led by commanders, captains, and generals that commandeered dragons. In fact, I saw one of the generals on a Charizard. I could not believe that our enemy had developed the technology to make that possible."

"This is not good. I have seen the damage that Charizard can do in wild areas. In the hands of an army general, it would be devastating."

Lieutenant Maria stood up and offered a suggestion. "I have Suicune's trust. We can take that dragon out, no problem. Just let me take the front line against their Charizard and I can kill it with little trouble. Please, General Drake?"

"You're inexperienced, but valuable, Maria," Drake answered. "You can't be going out on the front lines or you'll get yourself killed. And Suicune won't listen to anyone but you. That Pokémon is an incredible asset in this war. We can't be overaggressive with our strongest units, or we will lose."

Eron felt pity for Maria and tried to defend her. "She has a point, General. If we don't do something about Charizard and what other dragons they may or may not have, they will devastate us. In the hands of fighters, dragons are nearly unstoppable. I think we have to run that risk. But she won't be on her own out there. We need to have other troops protecting her at all times while she attacks."

"You may be young, Eron, but you sure know how to think outside the box. Very well. I shall send Maria into battle, protected by a wall of defensive soldiers. Secondly, how are we going to deal with this black Pokémon you talked about? Do you have any suggestions?"

"Well, General Drake, the best way to attack it is to blind it. However, I have a feeling that even though it is ground-bound, even aerial fighters will not be protected from its assaults. I can use the Lightbringer and holy arrows I inherited from my father, Gary, who fell in battle several months ago, as you are all more than familiar with. This brings us to my suggestion for how we can use Commander Albert's Entei and Commander Dart's Midori. They can attack our foe, thereby creating a diversion to assist the success of the real attack, conducted by Zoltin and I."

"That's a great idea, Eron. If this succeeds, you will be assured of a promotion to Lieutenant. Raikou and I can help with any of the tasks at hand. We can easily help Maria with the dragons; we can help create the diversion for your attack; or we can assist our other forces, whichever is most appropriate at the time."

"Thank you, General."

"When should we conduct our attack, General?" Albert asked.

"Tomorrow morning."

(Cut Music)

*************

Cue Music: "Despair" - Legend of Dragoon

"We barely survived. Out of all the original Beast Riders, I was the only one to survive."

"What happened to the others?" Aravan asked.

"Let's see here." Eron scratched his head. "Maria was killed in action by the Charizard she was supposed to finish off...that is, after Suicune helped her kill four other dragons the enemy brought into battle. Drake vastly underestimated Akuji's power. The diversion did not last very long. Akuji killed Albert by crushing him between Entei and the ground. Dart and Midori were both caught by surprise when Akuji shot a flame burst out of its mouth. Dart didn't survive, but his Beast obviously did. Shalin's status is living proof of that."

"And Drake?" Josh asked, intent on hearing about the ancient Raikou Rider.

"He was amazing. He completely decimated the enemy. It was incredible watching him fight. Nothing escaped him nor his mount. They were so incredibly quick in battle. You could not retreat from them. If you were weak and ready to retreat, he would kill you. Eventually, he got into a vicious fight with Akuji. He was winning for a while, until Lloyd's Death Mace struck him with a fatal blow to the head. That duel was a bloodbath. Raikou escaped,
heavily wounded."

"Wow. What a terrible way to go...a strike to the head."

"I was infuriated at Lloyd and took matters into my own hands." At that, he mounted Zoltin again, but did not go anywhere. He had a look of anger on his face, apparently trying to recreate his past emotions. "So I fought against Akuji, all alone. All my friends on the battlefield had died, and everyone else had either died or retreated. The battle dragged on forever in a stalemate. That's when Ho-oh and Lugia came, and sealed Lloyd, Akuji, Midori, Zoltin, and I into the ruin of the former imperial capital. Now, this battle is going to take place again. This same instance of history is going to repeat itself if everything goes the same as it did before."

(Cut Music)

Cue Music: "Dart's Theme" (http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/sony/ps1/LODDARTv1_1.mid) - Legend of Dragoon

Eron paused, then resumed his speech. "But there's a difference this time. All five of us are closer to the legendary Beasts than anyone else in the history of the world. We can defeat Lloyd and Akuji...together. Only as a team can we win this war, once and for all. We will defeat Akuji at all costs...even if that cost includes our own lives. You understand? We will either defeat Akuji or die trying."

At that, all five of them directed their Beasts into a small circle. They gave high fives to each other, then took off for the end of the chamber, where Lloyd was waiting for them. The final confrontation of a world-changing war spanning seven centuries is at hand.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Alana
September 2nd, 2005, 03:27 PM
Forgive me for taking so long again. I think I'll start reading the chapters at school. That way it won't take so long to reply. Anyway, awesome chapter. Now the REAL battle begins. Shouldn't say this since I'm rooting for the good guys, but I'm glad Lloyd will be fighting instead of Donavan. He was a power hungry coward like Akuji said. Please post the next chapter soon.

RaikouRider243
September 3rd, 2005, 10:56 AM
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 16: Lloyd, Master of Akuji

Meanwhile, the malevolent Lloyd was sitting down at his throne, amazed that Josh's friends were able to break Akuji's mind control over him. He knew that it would not be a quick fight by any means. "They are quite the team," he said to himself. "Surely much more of a team than during the war." He then thought of retrieving his Death Mace, then shortly remembering where it was. "Oh, that's right. I forgot I gave it to Donovan. It's sad he wasn't able to control my Beast. I thought I found someone. But he, like the rest, all have died." He let out a sigh. "It has been a while since I've been riding at all, let alone into a battle. But as hard as we've trained together all this time, it shouldn't be a problem."

Right when he said that, Lloyd heard Akuji's noisy sprinting in the distance. His Beast was fast approaching. Even before it had arrived next to Lloyd, it was trying to tell him something. "Lloyd, the man you had chosen as a successor was unworthy of me, so as per tradition, I killed him by throwing him off my back at full speed. But that is the least of our concerns right now. Josh has probably got everyone else back on their feet, and they are probably chasing after us right now. What do you--"

"I am fully aware of that," Lloyd interrupted as Akuji stopped in front of him. He quickly stood up, ready to mount the Pokémon. "I don't think that rushing into battle unarmed like this is a good idea."

"We can't really deal with that right now. The Beast Riders are between the weapon and us. Can you rectify this situation?"

"Yes. They are probably searching for me, yet don't know who I am. I'll use that to my advantage. Since they will be dead after this, there's no reason why I couldn't explain everything. I think you understand what we are to do from there."

"Yes. I understand. Lloyd, get on. We're executing the plan now." Without even giving Lloyd a chance to reply, Akuji sat down on its hind legs, allowing him to jump on the black Beast. Unable to jump, it merely stood back up and obeyed Lloyd's order to charge. It ran down the wide hallway at a relatively slow pace, recovering its energy from the sprint it made to meet Lloyd. Even at this slow pace, the pounding of its massive paws against the floor rumbled loudly through the passages. At high speeds, the noise would become even more intense.

It took only a few minutes for the Beast Riders, charging strong in the other direction, to meet Lloyd. When they saw each other, they told their Pokémon to quickly slow down. All of them were moving incredibly fast, and had little time to spare. It looked like Akuji and Raikou were going to collide, when they both stopped only eight yards away from each other. All six Beasts reared up, and Eron nearly fell from his aerial mount.

Cue Music: "Catastrophe" (http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/nintendo/snes/war.mid) - Final Fantasy VI

"I thought we defeated the rider of Akuji," Aravan recalled. "Then why is there someone else on its back?"

"He's in a cloak," Josh observed. "I can't see his face. If I could see his face, then maybe I would recognize him."

"Let me explain everything," the Akuji Rider offered. "I can't leave this place. I have been bound here for many, many moons. I was the one who called out to Donovan, not Akuji. I was just trying to find someone from the outer world willing to execute my plan."

"This guy is wacko," Ace commented. "He talks like one of those radical politicians who have been drinking too much and think they can conquer the world." At that, Josh, Eron, and Aravan chuckled loudly. Shalin didn't find it funny.

"Why did you need to use Donovan as a puppet? And why him?" Josh asked. He thought about his questions for a second. "No, forget it. What would you gain from using Akuji and Donovan to do your work for you?"

"Ace, it's obvious he wants us killed," Aravan whispered to him. "I think it has something to do with getting us out of his way. He's got a plan for world conquest, I believe. And we are the only ones who stand in his way. If that black behemoth kills us, there is nothing that can stop it. Not even Lugia or Ho-oh. Nothing."

"You're absolutely right," he whispered back. "Eron was right when he said we need to kill them or die trying."

"Well," Lloyd continued from his mount, "I'll explain everything. I am sure you know that during the war, Ho-oh and Lugia sealed up Akuji and Zoltin because they were too powerful to roam the world. Ever since that terrible day, I have been searching for a way to let Akuji loose into the world. If it were to roam the world, it would allow me to create a utopia. Everyone would fall into darkness, banishing the light to the seal where Zoltin rested all this time. And now, Eron, you sit atop the flying creature, starting the cataclysm once more."

"Who are you?! Dammit, how do you know my name?!" Eron shouted.

"Eron, we have known each other for a very long time. We met on that tragic day, on the field of battle. You were the only one left in the battle." At that, the Akuji Rider took off the hood covering his head, revealing a face familiar to Eron. The Zoltin Rider, and even his Beast, gasped.

"I don't believe it...Lloyd?!"

"Indeed."

"Dammit, Lloyd, how can you still be alive?! You were soaked in blood the last time I saw you!"

"I am sure you remember it well. You were soaked in blood yourself. We fought for the longest time. If you recall, we were sealed at Kadessa, our capitol city, at the same time, but in different locations. It happened when we were on our last legs and about to kill each other. I have had seven hundred years to think about why Ho-oh and Lugia would seal us away other than the forces of Light and Darkness falling out of balance."

Akuji walked toward the other end of the hallway as Lloyd continued. Everyone else followed. "The imbalance would have caused a problem far more consequential than the problem it would have solved. However, the land of Johto was already in quite a bit of turmoil even before our battle. Tens of thousands of Pokémon and warriors lost their lives as a result of the war, only to yield a stalemate when we were sealed up."

"Why did you fight us? And why are you fighting us again now?"

"To end all war and strife in the world. Using Akuji's power to bring out darkness, I will win everyone over to darkness. Everyone will be of the same force. Because of that, war will be a thing of the past. The land of Johto will be in utopia."

"You're--"

"Lloyd, you are more of a dimwit than I thought you to be," Josh interrupted. "Hundreds of people have aimed to create utopias much like yours, and all of them have failed. Get a grip on yourself. You're not saving the world and making a better place out of it; you're destroying it instead."

"I have come too far to let some bunch of kids like you get in my way. You're not Beast Riders; you're just a bunch of wannabes. And Akuji and I will kill all of you infidels, then create our utopia. It is seamless, since everyone will be on the side of Darkness. There will be no conflict. Everyone will be at peace. We just need to get rid of insurgents like you!"

Eron protested further. "Lloyd, stop this now. You tried this very same thing seven hundred years ago, and it did not work. It's not going to work this time, either. You don't understand that no matter how much Light or how much Darkness there is in the hearts of men, you cannot extinguish one of them completely. That's the nature of the human heart. It is like two sides of the same coin. They cannot be seperated. No matter how thin you make a coin, it still has two sides. Get ahold of yourself. You know it is impossible to sway the human heart completely over...unless you have ridden Akuji so much that it has cast a veil over your heart, hiding the truth that your
utopia cannot exist."

"How can you say that, Eron? I have complete control over Akuji! As you can clearly see, I have been training myself. I can control it precisely, bursting into speed at will!"

"You don't get it, do you? You may have total physical control over Akuji's movement, but that's all you have. Akuji is putting a veil of darkness over your mind, blanking out your sense of reason. If you have any sense of reason left, you will jump off Akuji immediately and help us fight for the freedom of the land of Johto! But I highly doubt you have any sense of reason left after training with that evil creature for so long. If that is the case, you have one final decision to make. Renounce your title of Akuji Rider and fight with us, or be killed with your Beast. I will give you some time to think about this. Make your decision quickly. The longer you wait, the further your mind will be corrupted."

"Your mind games will not work on me. Akuji, charge forward!" At that, it sprinted back to the battle arena where Donovan lost his life. The Death Mace was still next to the former Akuji Rider's body. Lloyd jumped off his Beast to grab the weapon giving off a purple glow, then quickly remounted. "I shall knock all of you down right here, right now! You have had your chance to make this peaceful. Time's up. We shall kill all of you and end this war that has crippled mankind for seven centuries right now!!"

(Cut Music)

Right when Lloyd had said that, the evil spell Akuji had cast on the Crystal Brand and Crimson Blade had become dispelled. The blades began glowing again with the elemental energies of their Beasts. All five Beast Riders drew their weapons, ready to start the ensuing final battle. The section of the hallway they were standing in moved away from the rest of the area. It stopped in front of a huge, circular battle arena surrounded by black flames that were so hot, not even Entei could walk through them. Lightning bolts flashed across the sky frequently, but Raikou was troubled by the source. "Josh, normally we would benefit greatly from this lightning. But the source of this lightning is not natural. It does not come from an ordinary storm cloud. The source of this lightning is foreign to me. I can't redirect it, control it, or work with it in any other way. Sorry, but this lightning is different. But no worries, Josh. With Eron, Shalin, Ace, and Aravan to help us, we should have more than enough power to eliminate the threat of Akuji and Lloyd once and for all."

(Cue Music: "Melbu Frahma [Last Battle]" - Legend of Dragoon)

Zoltin immediately opened fire with a quick shot of holy light. Akuji didn't even move; it knew exactly where the beam would go. Because it tilted its head down, the beam arced upward. Seeing this before the beam was fired, Akuji lowered its head, causing the beam to go right over its head. Raikou attacked from behind with a charging Spark attack, ramming the jet-black Beast in the side. Josh added to the attack an electrical pulse from his sword. Though it was a very strong combination attack, Akuji hardly reacted to the attack. It didn't even flinch.

"What is going on here?!" Aravan asked.

"Do you understand that you cannot win?" Lloyd responded. It was a rhetorical question. As Raikou recovered its balance from slamming itself into the brick wall of a Pokémon, Lloyd smacked Josh's back with the spiked weapon he carried. Josh let out a loud yelp from the spikes piercing his skin. Akuji shot a black flame out of its mouth, engulfing the Raikou Rider and his Beast in the dark, but hot, blaze. The fire burned at Josh and Raikou until the attack was interrupted by an arrow from Eron's bow, directed at Lloyd. It hit him in the upper-left arm. The light from the attack pained Akuji so much that it couldn't maintain the attack.

Ace let out a loud cry of strength. Remembering Josh's technique of attack, the Entei Rider tried to use his Beast and his sword to create a flaming tornado. The radius of the attack became large, but Entei was not agile enough to run in circles tight enough to create the necessary attack force to lift Akuji into the air. The jet-black creature laughed at the effort, but Lloyd was singed in the attack.

"I'll show you how it's done," Josh gloated. "Raikou, let's take Akuji for a spin!" At that, Josh held his sword out as Raikou ran tight circles around Lloyd and Akuji. The circluar motion of the blade created another cyclone of electricity. Though Akuji was extremely heavy, the power was enough to lift it into the air. It kept using its psychic power to keep Lloyd on its back and stable until ground impact. The Akuji Rider fell to the left of his mount. Both of them received considerable damage. Lloyd quickly remounted, then conducted a counterattack with his weapon. The spiked mace crushed Shalin's leg, causing her to sound a piercing shriek of pain.

Aravan slashed at Lloyd with the Crystal Brand, but missed because he didn't lead his attack enough. Zoltin, now behind Akuji again, fired an intense, white beam from its mouth. When it hit the Beast's rear end, Akuji reared up high on its hind legs, almost scared at the sudden attack.

"AUGH!!" the black Beast exclaimed. "Now you're asking for it..." At that, the black flame around its body intensified further, completely engulfing Lloyd. Some of the flame leaked into the spiked ball of his weapon, further increasing its power. Akuji rushed toward the west side of the arena, straight at Midori. The incredible force of the tackle loosened Midori's grip on Shalin, causing the rider to be sent flying with her Beast. Shalin became caught in the black flames, which quickly drained her energy. She collapsed on the edge of the battle arena.

"Entei, Extremespeed!" Ace's voice boomed from the north end of the arena. Entei broke into a reckless charge, charging at the Beast of Darkness and ramming into its side. The attack hardly phased it at all, despite the incredible force of the crimson lion's tackle. It became unable to move for a few seconds. Lloyd slammed his mace into Entei's head very hard, causing it to let out a loud roar.

Raikou rammed into Akuji with another Spark attack. The electrical charge of this attack stung Akuji more than Entei's tackle. Yet again, Lloyd took advantage of the Beast of Thunder's stun time by slamming his spiked mace into the tiger's head. It was ready to collapse when Suicune came to its rescue by shining a blue, healing light around it. Eron shot another Holy Arrow at Akuji, trying to diminish the incredible amount of darkness in its heart. Lloyd responded to seemingly every successful blow with his mace. Not only were the counterattacks fatiguing the Beast Riders, they were also making the Death Mace stronger.

"Enough playing around!" Akuji yelled out. It reared up very high again, then slammed its front paws down on the battle arena, causing a massive earthquake. The shaking ground threw everyone except Eron off their Pokémon. Even after the initial impact, the ground continued to shake wildly for eight seconds. The noise of the shaking was like an explosion of a cache of nitro powder. The force of the attack even hurt Lloyd and the attacker.

Raikou and Midori were about to collapse when Suicune covered the two Beasts and their riders in another curative light. Seeing that they were standing strong again, Eron was relieved.

Raikou generated a series of lightning clouds to temporarily replace the ones it was unable to work with. Lightning struck all around Akuji as the Raikou Rider commanded his Beast to circle them in Extremespeed. Another electrical tornado materialized, sending them flying into the air, only for them to come crashing down with their bodies covered in electrical burns. Lloyd was panting, nearly out of energy.

"GAAAAHHHH!!!" the Akuji Rider screamed in pain. "I might as well take you to hell with me!"

The dark Beast bolted for the center of the arena as Lloyd lifted the Death Mace up. A black dome of pure dark energy started to encase the entire arena. The dome had on it ancient characters depicting curses, sorcery, and other evils. When the Beast Riders saw the dome materializing, they tried to get out of it. Entei could not jump high enough to get out of it. Neither could Midori. Zoltin was on the edge of the arena, and there would be no time to get to the rapidly-closing hole in the center.

"Josh!" Eron exclaimed as Raikou, from halfway toward the center of the arena, started to make the highest leap it had ever attempted in its life. Beast and Rider were seemingly catapulted into the air, racing against the rapidly-decreasing radius of the hole in the top of the dome. Everyone watched in utter suspense. It looked like he would clear the gap when his mount was nearing the top. But the energy from the dome caused Josh and his Beast to come crashing to the ground. Raikou had missed the gap by five inches.

Without a warning to Aravan, Suicune leaped into the air. It was aiming for what was left of the hole in the dome. The hole's center was straight above Akuji. As the Beast of Water continued to gain altitude, the hole continued to become smaller.

"Come on!" Eron hoped. "Make it!"

"Suicune!" Raikou called out to the Beast of Water.

While Suicune continued to ascend, the black flames surrounding Akuji drained away at Lloyd. The heat and evil energy was incredibly intense. When he saw the possibility of Suicune and Aravan escaping the dome, his heart and mind were consumed completely by the Beast. He fell off the Pokémon and breathed his last, having served his function in creating the utopia he desired from the beginning of the Great Pokémon War.
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hehehehe, you'll have to wait until next chapter to see how the fight ends.

Alana
September 3rd, 2005, 12:43 PM
Now that last comment was mean! It was getting to the good part! Please post the next chapter soon! *twitches* I'll stay right here and wait.

RaikouRider243
September 3rd, 2005, 01:43 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 17: Human Fate

Suicune's trailing, hind-left leg barely made it through the gap in the center of the huge, black dome. Everyone else was trapped inside. As with Josh's previous battle, bright characters depicting dark magic appeared all over the outside of the dome. When they began glowing with a more intense light, Suicune leaped into the air from the top of the dome. The energy built up on the inside caused the black dome to shatter, unleashing every ounce of magical power it contained. Josh, Ace, Shalin, and their Beasts collapsed to the ground, slain from the attack. Immediately upon landing from the jump, Suicune's glorious, healing light coaxed a spark of life to enter all of its collapsed comrades. The wounded rose from the ground, but were extremely weak. Any sort of a hit on any one of them, save Aravan or Suicune, would most certainly be fatal.

The incredible energy exerted by Akuji in that attack left it stunned for quite some time, making it wide open to a volley of Zoltin's Lucent Beams. Eron took his time lining up a shot to Akuji's head. At the instant the rider released the bowstring, his Beast fired a holy beam. When the two attacks hit, Eron grabbed another arrow out of his quiver and fired another shot. After the fourth coordinated effort, Shalin joined the assault with her Rose Whip, striking the dark Beast three times.

Aravan came up with an idea. "Let's try combination attacks," he said to Ace.

"What do you want me to do?"

"Come here."

"All...right..." the Entei Rider said, confused. Aravan nudged back on Suicune.

"Climb up here, in front of me. You'll see soon enough."

Ace jumped off Entei's back, landing on the now-ruined battleground created by Akuji's attack. Slowly and carefully, he mounted Suicune. "Okay...what exactly do you want me to do here?"

"I'm going to make Suicune jump high into the air while it creates a great gust of wind. The attack will be furthered by my blade's icy powers. When I tell you to jump, jump off Suicune. Try to land just in front of Akuji or just to one side. If you land on Akuji, don't panic. Just get away from it." Aravan turned his attention to Suicune. "Ready?"

"Of course."

Everything went exactly according to plan. Suicune's leap catapulted it and its two riders high into the air. Aravan waved his sword at Akuji, creating a dangerous artificial blizzard. Aluji turned away from the wind and prepared an attack on Josh, who was staring at his friends high above him.

"Now, Ace!"

Drawing his sword, Ace leaped off Suicune's back at the apex of its jump. He grabbed the sword with both hands in an attempt to either stab Akuji directly from above, or create a flaming explosion that would engulf it. Aravan watched the whole time. His heart was throbbing.

For the entire duration of the attack, Akuji had its blood-red eyes set on Josh and Raikou. It happened to turn around as Josh directed his Beast to the other side of the arena. Ace was disturbed when he saw it. The Crimson Blade plummeted right into the center of Akuji's back. The Entei Rider found himself astride Akuji. Aravan rolled his eyes in disgust.

The black flames surrounding the opposing Beast were not as hot as Ace expected them to be. Unfortunately, that was the least of his worries at that point. Akuji charged at Raikou full-force. Ace knew exactly how rough Entei's gait had been from the day he hopped on for the first time. Nothing he could have done on Entei would have prepared him for the rough ride he was in for during the charge toward Raikou. The charge caused Ace to bounce around on Akuji's back so hard that it almost hurt him. He had no control over it. When Raikou dodged to its right, Akuji made a sharp left turn to follow it. Ace's left leg slipped off the Beast, causing him to hit the ground shortly thereafter.

All the Beasts pooled their efforts together into one more attack. Entei, Suicune, Zoltin, and Midori each fired a beam which contained energy of their respective elements. The four beams intersected and formed a sphere of pure power. Josh fired an electirical pulse at the sphere, signaling Raikou to exert a constant electrical energy until the sphere was wrapped in another one of electricity. When the Beasts ceased fire, the huge energy blast was fired. It exploded right when it contacted Akuji. The attack damaged it significantly, but it barely flinched from it.

(Cut Music)

The black Beast stopped attacking its enemies as the remainder of the allied Pokémon regained sufficient strength for their riders to remount them. "Over an hour of fighting has gotten us nowhere. I don't care about you fools anymore. Eron, Zoltin, we shall settle this elsewhere." The black flames surrounding the chamber dissipated as a faint bridge materialized. Akuji darted across the bridge and made a sharp right turn. When the warriors crossed back into the main chamber, they found it was collapsing from the dead-end at the back. Akuji was bouncing from wall to wall, trying to trap the Beast Riders in the void forever.

Cue Music: "Hurry!!" (http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/sony/ps2/hurry.mid) - Final Fantasy X

"God **** it! This chamber is collapsing!!" Josh exclaimed, still weak even after being healed by Suicune. After Akuji had bounced back and forth between walls for a considerable amount of time, it rushed into Extremespeed, causing the chamber to become even more unstable.

"Extremespeed!!!" all five Beast Riders yelled in unison. Faced with a life-or-death situation, the legendary Pokémon gave the run out of the dark chamber everything they had. The crumbling walls and other architecture seemed to match the speed of the Pokémon. Aravan was particularly nervous, because the chamber was gaining on Suicune. Raikou, Midori, Zoltin, and Entei had no problem keeping up with the falling debris. It was Suicune, however, that was in dire straits.

"**** it!" Aravan yelled. "Suicune, can you go any faster?!"

"Unfortunately, this is as fast as I can run. And that collapsing debris is gaining on us. I don't know what kind of shape we will be in upon escape. This is the first time I have ever been concerned with running out of energy. When this is over, I need a long rest. I don't know about everyone else, but I'm starting to become wore out."

The debris came within twenty yards of Suicune, and still no exit was in sight. Fifteen, and still no exit. Ten, nothing. Five, nothing still. When he looked back, he saw that the falling structures were about to engulf him.

"Suicune, I knew what I was getting into when I accepted my destiny as a Beast Rider. But I didn't think it would actually happen! Suicune, I'm scared! I don't want to die!"

"I know, Aravan. I know that death is a scary thing. But think of it this way: if you die, you helped save Johto, and the world, from falling into total darkness. You fulfilled your duty as a Beast Rider. Just think of how many lives you have saved."

A large portion of the wall ahead of them was about to collapse. At current speeds, the structure would topple right when Suicune was to cross it. But if they slowed down, the ruin from behind would collapse on them. They were boxed in with no way out.

Ho-oh broke through Akuji's curse just in time. "Aravan's in danger! Hold on, Suicune Rider! This should help!"

When Suicune heard Ho-oh's voice, its crystal, then its entire body, started glowing with rainbow colors. "What is this power? It's like nothing I have ever felt before!" The limber Beast felt a loosening of its leg muscles, and started running beyond its normal top speed.

"Whoa, Suicune!! How did you get so fast all of a sudden?!" Aravan was shocked at the increased speed of Suicune. It was running at over 240 miles per hour.

"I don't know. But all of a sudden I felt an amazing power in my legs. It was a speed I have never felt before." Aravan tightened his grip on Suicune. The increased speed felt foreign to him. He had trouble holding on at first, but quickly adapted to the speed. All of the Beasts rushed down the hallway and out of the exit portal--Akuji included.

When the Beast Riders emerged from the portal, they threw all caution to the wind, ignoring all the traps in the chambers of Kadessa. They were going too fast to be affected by them anyway. The structure above the portal to Akuji's now-ruined lair had collapsed, sealing off the gateway. Akuji had now completed its objective: re-entry into the outside world. When all six Beasts had crossed the Forbidden Land back into the rich, fertile land of Johto, Akuji and Zoltin stopped in the middle of a large field.

"We shall settle this now. Either the world will succumb to Darkness or Light, depending on the winner of this battle. Let us finish this! Or should I say, finish you!"

"Over my dead body. You understand the rammifications of destroying me, do you not?"

"I am fully aware of the rammifications. And I don't really care. If I have to die to create my utopia, let it be so."

The two Beasts resumed their fight that would determine the fate of the entire human population of Johto. If Akuji won the battle, all would fall to Darkness. If Zoltin and Eron won, all would be bathed in holy Light. Black flames erupted all over the battleground as Eron continuously fired holy arrows at Akuji. The two legendary Beasts hacked away at each other physically with claws, and in Akuji's case, sharp horns. The two of them were too evenly matched. The fighting had no end in sight.

Akuji's flame attacks continued to raze the beautiful greenery of the Beast Riders' homeland. After nearly twenty minutes of fighting, no progress was made by either side. Akuji was depending on settling this quickly. It charged forward as Zoltin dove in from above. The two Beasts smacked straight into each other, making a piercing thud. The incredible force from this hit stunned both Beasts. Eron went flying over Akuji's head, landing nearly a quarter-mile from his Beast.

After the ramming attacks, something peculiar happened. Akuji and Zoltin were close to each other when they became surrounded by black flames and holy light, respectively. The two auras tried to surround each other in an attempt to exterminate each other. Energies of Light and Darkness mixed over the collapsed Beasts violently, resulting in a massive explosion. Eron was blown off the ground and sent flying from the amount of force.

"Eron!!" Ace screamed. "**** it!"

Entei attempted to comfort Ace. "I don't know for sure what's going on myself, but I still sense that Zoltin is alive. Even over long distances, we can feel for each other. We can tell generally the condition each of us are in. Right now, Zoltin's alive, but the explosion more than shook it up. Furthermore--" It cut itself off. "What's going on over there?!"

The two Beasts' energies clashed again, creating another series of blasts. The smoke from them quickly cleared. Both Beasts were lying on the ground; they were conscious, but in critical condition. Akuji had turned from a jet-black color to a dark grey. The brightness of Zoltin's fur decreased significantly. It was still white, but no longer bearing a gleaming brilliance. All three Beasts came to the same conclusion regarding a reason for this. "Those forces must have canceled each other out."

At that moment, Suicune made another deduction. "More than that. Zoltin and Akuji completely cancelled each other out in terms of elemental affinity, too. Do you know what that means, Aravan?"

"We won?"

"We won everything. The war has ended now."

"It's over?" Josh asked.

"Yes. Lloyd, Akuji, and all of their allies have either surrendered or been defeated. It almost seems too good to be true, but it is indeed over. Akuji is still alive, but it is no longer a threat. It is just another legendary Beast now, like the three of us. In the case that a Beast's rider dies, it would ordinarily have to either find a new rider or sleep once more. But now that the war has ended, it is safe once more for us Beasts to roam the world, doing whatever we want."

Josh turned his head away from Aravan and Suicune. "Raikou, does this mean that you will be leaving me again?"

"Did you ever hear Suicune say that we were obligated to leave you?"

"No, but you did not answer my question."

"None of us said anything about leaving you. As a matter of fact, I have no plans of leaving you. And as far as I know, neither do Entei, Suicune, or Midori. Zoltin's way of thinking has always been a mystery to me. The rider is just as mysterious."

Josh let out a big sigh of relief. "Whew, I was worried for a second."

"I knew that when Ho-oh approved of it, this would be permanent. You forgot, didn't you?"

"I was so paranoid when you hinted at us possibly being seperated again. I wasn't thinking straight. To be honest, I want to get out of here and get some good sleep. After all that fighting, I want to rest!"

"I am quite surprised that you have the strength to do much of anything right now. Suicune's blue rays of healing replenish strength, but they cannot replenish long-term energy. Only a good night's sleep can do that. I don't know what the others are up to, but I think they can handle everything on their own."

"Then what the hell are we standing around here for?! Let's beat feet and get out of here!" At that, Raikou took off, slowly accelerating toward Ecruteak University. The Legend of Thunder never exceeded fifty percent of its normal top speed. Josh was too tired to handle anything incredibly fast.

----------------

Aravan and Suicune were totally exhausted after shining blue, healing rays on Zoltin for a few minutes that seemed like an eternity. They, likewise, bailed for campus after Josh, though they did not know it. Eron and Zoltin also quietly flew after them. Seeing this, Entei started to feel less guilty about its consideration of leaving its fellow Beasts and their riders in the middle of nowhere out of concern for Ace and itself. "Well, I don't blame them. Neither Suicune nor Raikou, nor Josh nor Aravan. I had never seen those four as tired as they are now. It makes me feel like I didn't contribute enough to the fighting, because I have so much more energy than they do right now."

Ace refuted his Beast. "Oh, don't be silly. You contributed plenty to the battle, and so did I. You know it, and I know it. You don't need to hide it. You're tired, I'm tired, and everyone else is tired. You don't have to act tough all the time, though you are extremely tough. Look, everyone else is gone. I don't see a reason to stay here. Let's go get some rest. We need it."

"That's what I was waiting for. I didn't know if it was right to leave here right now or not. I was waiting for your decision. Now that I know what you think, we definitely should leave here now." At that, Ace tightened his grip on Entei slightly, and they took off in the direction of Josh and Aravan. As the Beast accelerated smoothly, more thoughts about Entei arose in Ace's mind.

"You know..." the rider started.

"What?"

"You take everything way too seriously, Entei. Not once have I seen you in a relaxed position. You've never...even during that race a while ago, you didn't seem enthused. That was the most fun I had ever had in my life."

"I felt guilty about it in mid-race. I felt like I wasn't doing my job of protecting Ecruteak from evil."

Ace was puzzled, even insulted, by Entei's last statement. "God, Entei, you're even more hard-headed than I thought. Didn't you realize at the time that we vanquished the evil from Johto already? Couldn't you have a little fun? There is nothing wrong with a bit of good, clean fun every now and then."

"I believe that the rule has always been that when we are done with our assigned task, we are to sleep beneath Ecruteak's Burned Tower, awaiting our next assignment." The Beast of Fire thought about the issue for a few minutes as it rushed across the plains. "I just remembered something. When Ho-oh brought us into service together again, I believe that the premise of us being together has overridden the previous code of behavior. Ace, you are right. Being serious during an important mission, such as rescuing Josh and Raikou, is extremely important. But after realizing that the code of conduct had become obsolete, I overreacted. Now I understand that one of my weaknesses is taking things too seriously. When we get back to campus, I will try to regroup overnight and become more understandable."

(Slowly Fade Out Music)

When the Beast Riders arrived at the campus, one by one, they dismounted their Pokémon, wearily trudged through the dorm building entrance, and fell into their beds immediately upon reaching them. After the few seconds it took for each warrior to fall fast asleep, their Beasts followed suit.

Alana
September 5th, 2005, 04:15 PM
*cheers* And finall the war is over. Is Akuji still evil? Or is he simply a jerk or something? So there's one more chapter. Please post it soon.

RaikouRider243
September 12th, 2005, 02:33 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter 18: Aftermath

That night, while the Beast Riders were asleep, word of their heroic achievements was spreading all over Johto. News media from all over the region were quickly alerted. News trucks and vans quickly crowded toward Ecruteak University. By two AM that morning, there were dozens of vehicles parked outside the closed gate. People carrying cameras, microphones, and other pieces of equipment were ready to rush onto the premises at the instant the gate automatically opened at six AM.

By the time live broadcasts started appearing on local television, news helicopters had left for the scene. The police on the job heard the numerous flying machines' loud, repeated thumping noise the blades produced.

"Probably news team helicopters," one officer suggested.

"At this hour? They know it's illegal to fly a helicopter through a residential neighborhood this early in the morning," his superior officer replied.

"And don't they already have people there?"

"Yes, but with something this big...you know what? Go round up a few units and have them follow us to Ecruteak University. We need to have a look at this."

"Right."

~~~~~~~

"What the hell is all that noise?" Ace asked, yawning. He got out of bed and looked out the window on his right, and he could not believe what he saw and heard. In addition to the news helicopters that woke him up, there were also dozens of news vans, trucks, and police cars parked outside. It was just before six, when the gates were to open. "Oh man, Josh is not going to like this at all. Note to self: stay away from Josh early today." Knowing he would not be able to get back to sleep, he simply got dressed and turned on the television, only to his disgust. Every news station in town was broadcasting the event. He didn't know how to react.

(Cue Music: "Hurry!!" (http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/sony/ps2/bman_ps2_ffx_hurry.mid) - Final Fantasy X)

Right when the gates opened, the noise of the rushing police, helicopters, and newscasters woke Josh up. Police did their best to hold the media off, but the crowd became violent as it approached the building. Several shots were fired in the confusion, wounding eight people. When Josh looked out the window, he saw everything, including the riots. He knew what was going on.

"**** all of them," he muttered to himself. "Information leaks all the time. But why now and why us?" The Raikou Rider quickly got dressed and fully equipped, grabbing a quick bite to eat on his way out. "**** it, this will be a long day. I need to warn the others!"

Josh rushed down the hallway to the other side of the dorm building, where Aravan's room was located. On the way, he saw Ace, Eron, and Shalin sitting on a wooden bench in the main foyer. Ace was the only one not equipped. "What's up?" Shalin asked.

Josh ignored her, continuing his sprint through the building. "How rude..." she noted. "What's gotten into him?"

Ace explained everything. "Josh hates the media. The first time we became Beast Riders, we managed to avoid almost all press coverage. Apparently this time, the media got smart. They've been camping out here all night, waiting for the campus to open up. Now that it has, the police have been holding the media back, but with a lot of resistance. The gun shots you heard earlier were from that. They have had to use guns and various Pokémon to hold the crowds back."

"Wow, it must be terrible out there. I wouldn't mind being on television. I don't care either way, to be honest."

"I'm on television all the time because I play soccer here. But Josh hates the media. In a case like this, I knew he would go bonkers. But I didn't expect anything like this.

"He totally ignored me. He didn't say 'hello' or anything."

"You know what, he will probably be very angry and not very talkative today. I would stay away from him until he calms down."

Eron was puzzled by the confusion. "What's going on?"

"The news wants to interview us for local, regional, and possibly nationwide broadcasting."

"Wow, have times changed since my age."

"It will certainly be an adjustment for you. Most of the technology and...well, everything that we have today will be new to you. If you want to stay with us, you will have to become comfortable with the world as it is now."

"I have little choice. I can't go back to my old life anyway. That's in the past and there isn't a thing I can do about it." He abruptly changed the subject. "What is going on with Josh? You never answered my original question."

"He's scared of all the newscasters outside. He doesn't want to be interviewed because he hates them."

"I think I understand. We are heroes of war now. We are going to get this much attention. It's inevitable."

The conversation continued for ten more minutes, when Josh returned with Aravan. "If you want to be interviewed, I don't care either way. But whatever you do, cover for me. I never have trusted the media, nor will I ever. They warp the truth substantially, hiding what really is going on in the world. They don't care if they report the full truth or not. All they care about is making money. Money has taken such an incredible precedence over everything in today's society. It has even superseded honesty in the case of the media. The media don't tell you everything; they are full of propaganda. That's how they compete with each other. In the end, it's the common person that takes the hit in terms of current events education. I don't know about you, but I refuse to support this kind of action. If you are with me, stay here and don't let them get a bit of information from you. I don't care if you go or not. But if you do go, please cover for me. Who's staying behind?" The only noise in the foyer was the sound of the riots outside. "Anyone?" Josh repeated. Everyone left for the door, when he thought of something else. "Wait!"

"Yeah?" Ace responded.

"Go out the back way and mount your Beasts if you desire. I'm staying in my room, where I will be safe. The cops have the front entrance blocked off, so no one's coming in here."

At that, everyone except Josh headed for the exit in the back of the building. Josh left for his dorm. Upon arrival, he locked the door from the inside, opened his window, and peered out, waiting for his friends to come from the back.

~~~~~~~

The rioting newscasters were about to break through police lines when Entei, carrying Ace on its back, walked around the corner of the building. The moment the sunlight revealed the Beast of Fire, a roar of screams sounded as the cameramen and interviewers frantically raced toward the mounted warrior. Shalin, Aravan, and Eron, all mounted on their respective Beasts as well, followed Ace. Within moments, all four of them were surrounded by interviewers, microphones, and cameramen.

"One at a time! One at a time!!" Ace screamed as the group of interviewers bombarded him with questions. When the questions didn't stop, Ace screamed louder for them to stop. When that didn't work, Ace commanded Entei to intervene. The crimson lion sounded an amazing roar of incredible volume. When the roar ceased, there was utter silence in the air.

"All right, now that I have you quiet, let's get things organized here. Let's make this easy. Give us a few minutes to decide how we want to do this." At that, all four Beasts turned toward each other, enabling the riders to talk amongst themselves silently. Aravan started the discussion.

"Let's limit the amount of time each team has to talk with each of us."

"Agreed," Ace replied. "Perhaps we can give them...say an hour. Fifteen minutes with each group...of just questions and answers."

"Ace, that's an excellent idea. Any objections?"

"No," everyone else replied.

"Perfect." At that, Ace made the announcement. "Here is how we're going to do this." At that, every eye near the Beast Riders veered toward Ace. "Seperate into groups with your colleagues. You will each have a 15-minute Q-and-A session with each of us. After all four sessions have ceased, you will be able to ask us a few questions as a group. You may assemble now."

~~~~~~

Josh continued to watch the interview from the television in his room. "I can't believe they are letting themselves go through this," he said to himself. "But Ace and the others are doing a good job out there covering for me. He needs to do something to scare them away."

About forty minutes later, there was a loud thumping noise at the door. Josh flinched. He slowly walked toward the door, unlocked it, turned the knob, and opened the door a crack--just enough for him to see who was there. Upon seeing the man in a black uniform with the ZNN News logo on it, he immediately shut the door and locked it again. "Open up!" the man hollered. "I know you're in there, Josh! I know about what you did these last few weeks, and I just want to ask you some questions!"

"Go away!" the Raikou Rider replied sharply.

"All your friends are outside, waiting for you to join them!"

"You know what, I don't care about that right now. Now go away!"

"How about a contract?"

"I'm not accepting bribes."

"The people of Johto want to see the face of their heroes!"

"You know what, they don't have to see it now. I can send you all the photographs you like. Just not now. Now will you please get out of here, I don't want to see you or your news team here, disturbing our everyday lives. Get out!"

"I'm just doing my job. I was assigned to interview the new heroes on this day."

"And you were authorized to trespess on municipal property in the process?" There was no response. "Didn't think so. You do realize that there are police officers stationed all around this building, don't you? I imagine they are already suspicious of your company for authorizing the use helicopters here in the middle of the night. You woke a lot of people up. If you don't want me to turn you in, leave me alone now." Again, Josh received no response. "You really are asking for it, you know." At that, Josh drew his sword and opened the door. Seeing the blade, the reporter was both amazed and scared. The Beast Rider led him out of the building with his sword pointed at the man's back the entire way out. When the two of them emerged from the building, the police were amazed at Josh's appearance, but stunned at his actions.

The officers immediately surrounded the two and made them talk. The chief of the squad started, "Explain to me what the meaning of this is. Both of you, in addition to ZNN News Corporation, have violated municipal laws in addition to regional ones. You are?"

"Chuck O'Connor," the interviewer replied.

"Were you authorized to trespass onto Ecruteak University?"

"By my company."

"By the college?"

"No, sir."

"Then you're off the hook...for now." Both Chuck and Josh started to slink off, when the man in blue signaled for Josh. "I'm not done with you yet, Josh."

The Raikou Rider flinched and turned around. "Yes?"

"You have the right to remain silent. If you give up the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."

Hearing the Miranda Warning being read to him insulted Josh. "What?!"

The officer continued, "You have the right to an attorney, and you have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you."

"What is this for?!"

"Possession of an illegal Pokémon and aggravated assault."

"You call that aggravated assault?! I never even touched the man!"

"You threatened to harm the man with a drawn weapon. That is a crime."

"It was frikkin' self defense! The man was banging on my door, trying to force his way in!"

"Either way, you will be required to show up in court eventually. You and ZNN representatives. That will be all for now, but I will see you again." With that, all the police officers and news crews left in shock.

(Cut Music)

Josh, still puzzled, walked back to the rear end of the building, where Raikou was standing. All four of the other Beast Riders followed him, emerging as Josh got situated atop the Beast of Thunder. "What did he say?" Shalin asked.

"He wants me to show up in court soon."

"Court?! Why?!" everyone shouted.

"Aggravated assault and possession of an illegal Pokémon, but I think I'll get off the hook. The circumstances are extraordinary. I'm sure he was referring to Raikou. When this news spreads, we all will need to get licenses for these Pokémon."

"True," Aravan replied. "It is illegal to own a legendary Pokémon, even though the Pokémon pretty much regulate it themselves. But seems how we managed to save Johto not once but twice, I think getting licenses should be little trouble."

"Go away and play or something. Raikou wants a word with me," Josh told them. At that, all four of the other Beast Riders directed their Pokémon in seperate directions.

~~~~~~~~

"All right, Raikou. Now that we are alone, what did you want?"

"It is about your behavior today. I am very displeased with your actions."

"I understand.

"The Lightning Sword is an extremely powerful weapon, is it not?"

"Yes."

"And you used it out of mere personal rage, did you not?"

"I...I guess..." Josh replied, dejectedly.

"Those kinds of people are exactly what we protect ourselves, and you, from. If someone corrupt were to wield that blade...I am sure you know what would become of that."

"You've told me this before. I am well aware of what would happen if the sword was used by an evildoer. My purpose being with you is to guard against such a tragedy."

"You knew that from day one, Josh. What I am trying to tell you is that you need to bind your evil when you take your weapon out. Every human being has some evil. You need to be able to bind it whenever you draw your weapon."

"It was a mistake, Raikou! I'm sorry already! The guy was getting on my nerves, and I didn't know what else to do!"

"Josh...this is hard for me, but I forgive you."

"Hard...?" Josh didn't understand why Raikou had such difficulty in forgiving a simple action like that. "How so?" he asked.

"It is a grave sin against Ho-oh to use the weapon like that. You also sinned against that man, the state, your friends, and I. At that point, I could have said, 'That's it, hop on. You and I are done.' I had every authority to do that. But I care for you. That is why I am giving you a second chance. Now, wasn't there something you wanted to do?"

"Yeah, there is. Come on, Raikou, let's go find our friends." Josh tightened his grip on the Beast of Thunder as they sped off in search of Ace and the others.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Though the Raikou Rider was intent of finding his friends, fatigue from the morning set in, causing him to become distracted. The speed never got old for Josh. He directed Raikou around the campus grounds almost aimlessly, even bursting into Extremespeed at seemingly random times. By the time they stumbled across Josh's friends, it was almost noon.

"What did Raikou have to say?" Shalin asked.

"He just pointed out that I acted up this morning. Nothing really big." He paused for a short while, collecting his thoughts. "Shalin, I have come up with an idea. It will be fun."

"What?" Eron asked intently.

"Let's go riding together, but on one another's Beasts."

"Hmm...interesting. I had always wanted to go riding with General Drake back during the war. Sounds like a great idea!"

Ace jumped in excitement. "I call Zoltin first!"

"No one has first call on anything," Shalin interrputed. "We'll draw numbers. One is Raikou, two is Entei, three is Suicune, four is Midori, and five is Zoltin."

"Great idea, Shalin!" Josh complimented. "But before anything, I think we should explain to everyone how to ride our own Beasts. That way, it will be fun for everyone, not just us riders. I'd also love to show you a few fun tricks you can do on Raikou. How about we give little lessons, then get started?"

"We never even drew numbers," Shalin resumed. "The number you get determines where you start." Shalin took out five slips of paper, writing on each of them a number from one to five. She crumpled up the paper in her right hand, then dismounted Midori. All of the other riders followed suit. Shalin opened her right fist, revealing the five wads of paper. Everyone took one. When the opened up the wad of paper with the number "five" on it, she became nervous.

"When Ace saw the number "three" on his wad of paper, he screamed, "All right, who's got five?!" Shalin quietly slipped her hand into the air.

Eron drew number one. "Interesting, Josh. Looks like I'm riding Raikou first."

Aravan had drawn number four. After opening the wad of paper up, he started toward the grass-type.

"Well, that leaves me with Entei first," Josh deducted. "I'm kinda nervous about it."

"Oh, Josh," Ace replied, "Entei's fun! Don't be so nervous; you'll get used to him quickly."

"Thank you. Well, I guess I'll start." Josh mounted Raikou and dashed off for the open field north of campus.

"Hey, wait for me!" Ace screamed as the other riders climbed astride their Pokémon and followed the yellow Beast. They had reasoned that Zoltin would be the most difficut to ride because of the flight, so Eron would demonstrate last. When all the Beast Riders assembled, Josh started teaching.

"Riding Raikou is a piece of cake. To turn, lean your body left or right. If you pull up with your body, Raikou will slow down. Grip Raikou tightly and hold the grip to make him speed up. The longer you hold it, the faster he'll go. If you tell him to jump, he will. Now, let me show you something you can do with him." Josh pushed Raikou to a high speed, then jerked his legs up. Raikou made a huge leap into the air. At the apex of the jump, the Beast surrounded itself with an electrical net. When Raikou landed, it was running in Extremespeed for a half-minute before the rider slowed it to a halt. "Ace, you're up."

Ace guided Entei forward. "Well, Josh explained nearly everything for me. If you want to go really fast, jerk your legs into its sides when it's already going fast."

Aravan and Suicune were next. "I'm thinking this is basically how you control all of them. Josh summed it up well. Now, this won't apply here, but you can take Suicune underwater and on water if you go moderately fast. It isn't fast compared to the rest, but it's very agile and can turn on a dime--that is what makes riding Suicune fun."

Shalin came forward, still nervous about flying on the griffinlike Beast. "Probably the biggest difference is that Midori will strap you onto her back. Because of that, you'll probably just want to go as fast as you can and jump a lot. Well, Eron needs a lot of time to explain how to ride Zoltin. So..." She guided Midori back as Eron and Zoltin came forward.

"Zoltin is much different from any of the other Beasts because it flies. Instead of slowing down when you pull up on Zoltin, he will fly higher. If you try to force your body down, Zoltin will descend closer to the ground. This is one way to control him. But you can have more control if you just let him read your thoughts. That's how you get him to jump and reach Extremespeed. When he's flying, he still looks like he's running, and he still feels like it, too. I was riding earlier like that, and it was amazing how fast I went. Ace is getting very impatient, so let's go."

Everyone except Shalin and Josh was excited. Shalin had no trouble climbing between Zoltin's wings. Her concern was it flapping its wings during takeoff. "Everything will be fine, Shalin. We don't have to go fast. Just hold on and...well, let's just fly!"

Zoltin started running at a brisk pace. After running through the field for about a minute, Shalin's heartbeat jumped as the Beast started flapping its wings. The white creature leapedinto the sky and started running through the air, increasing its speed to 100 miles per hour and beyond. Shalin giggled as she dashed through the air.

Josh could not mount the huge Beast of Fire like he could his own Beast. After several attempts, he managed to mount by throwing his boty onto its back, then spreading his legs out. Even after scooting his body closer to Entei's neck, his legs could not reach all the way down the lion's side. When Josh signaled Entei to take off, he quickly discovered the Beast's gait to be bouncier than Raikou's. As Entei raced forward, gaining speed smoothly, it became harder for Josh to maintain control. The faster Josh rode, the higher he bounced.

After all four land Beasts met in the middle of the field, the riders gave a command to race back together. Ace and Suicune rushed back the fastest at first. The wielder of the Crimson Blade could not exhibit the subtlety required to precisely control Suicune. Ace was clearly holding on tight as the water-type galloped around wildly.

Aravan enjoyed the grip Midori had to offer, and immediately pushed the grass-type to maximum speed. However, it felt a lot faster than Suicune because the Water Beast was larger than Shalin's Beast.

Josh had the most trouble on the way back, as Entei rushed off into an Extremespeed faster than Raikou's. All he could do was let out a loud "YEE-HAH!!" as he sped back at nearly 270 miles per hour.

Shalin, still seated atop Zoltin, was waiting for them at the field entrance. After riding the white Beast at high speed, she felt ready for the swift Raikou. All riders dismounted and rotated Beasts. "Oh, great...Midori, hang in there!" she said upon noticing Ace mount her Beast.

"Shalin, I'll be fine. Just keep in mind everything you've learned. And you know what? Ride that Beast real fast, girl!"

"That's exactly why we're here."

When Josh climbed on Suicune, he could immediately feel the agility in its legs. It was ready to make sure Josh would go for a ride he'd never forget. The rider let out a "Woo!" as Suicune leaped forward with a 60-mile-per-hour wind gust at its back.

Knowing that speed alone wouldn't make Ace smile, Midori started playing leap frog. She flowed from one jump to the next effortlesly, accelerating with each leap. Ace couldn't help grinning as the nimble, green Pokémon continued to jump around.

Eron had to make serious adjustments to stay atop the Beast of Fire. "I don't know how Ace manages to hang onto this huge lion, but he does. Wow! What a ride!" he mumbled to himself as Entei's bouncy gait impaired his ability to control it. When they reached the middle of the field, the white-armored warrior turned Entei around. They lagged behind the rest of the speeding Beasts the entire way. After that, they rotated again.

Ace leaped off Midori and sprinted for Zoltin. He quickly mounted and commanded the white-winged Beast to begin flying. "Fly, Zoltin! Fly!" he repeated.

"Patience, Ace!" Zoltin responded, then sped up as Ace commanded. They left everyone else far behind as the red-armored Beast Rider pushed the white-winged creature over 200 miles per hour.

Josh took a hint from Ace and started to make Midori jumo repeatedly. Completely surprised at her acceleration after a few leaps, he wished he could find another Midori and befriend her. "YAHOO!!" the rider exclaimed. "Man, I gotta do this with Raikou sometime! This is fun!"

Aravan, having ridden Raikou once before, had little fear of its speed. Shalin, though, was full of fear. Entei had to sit on its hind legs for the girl to even reach its back. When the crimson Beast started galloping at high speeds, Shalin let out a shriek. Like Josh, she had trouble holding onto Entei. When all the Beasts rushed back to the starting position, Shalin lost her grip. All she could do was grip Entei's white mane. The mane whipped through the wind, gradually loosening her clutch until she fell off and hit the ground near the field entrance. Suicune promptly healed her wounds with a blue, refreshing light.

"Finally, MY turn to fly!" Josh exclaimed as everyone rotated Beasts for the last time; Josh atop Zoltin, Ace on Raikou, Aravan astride Entei, Shalin comforably atop Suicune, and Eron lightly strapped to Midori. No one had any problems controlling or holding onto the wildly swift Pokémon. Eron smiled as Midori, glowing a bright green, leaped repeatedly in Extremespeed. The nimble Beast smiled back.

Shalin's long hair whipped around in the air as Suicune boosted itself forward with quick bursts of hurricane-force winds. She tightened her grip on the blue cheetah, causing it to speed up quickly. After repositioning her body on Suicune, she giggled loudly.

Josh had waited for what seemed like years for the chance to ride Zoltin. He knew what he wanted to do; he just didn't know exactly how fast he would fly. "Zoltin, once we are airborne, fly as fast as you can!"

"You'll love this, Josh. Hang on tight," the winged Beast replied as it started running, accumulating sufficient speed for takeoff. The incredible speed rush at takeoff was far more thrilling than he expected. "YEE-HAH!" he yelled as Zoltin continure to pick up speed.

Flying at a height of only eighteen feet, Josh caught what appeared to be a large, black-grey blur on the ground. Now at full speed, he started to control Zoltin like a huge falcon, flying higher into the blue skies. After reaching a height of several hundred feet, he pointed the Beast downward at a steep angle. Zoltin was flapping his wings violently. Its entire body was shaking from the incredible rush, breaching even past its Extremespeed of 265 miles per hour. "HA-HA!! Zoltin, this is awesome!" Josh screamed again. When the Beast leveled out its body, it resumed normal speeds, only to rapidly slow to a stop and rear up after identifying the former blur: Akuji.

"I know you are surprised to see me, but--"

"Akuji?! You survived?! Why are you here?!" Zoltin was perturbed at the dark Beast's presence.

"Let me finish. I want to apologize for all the damage I caused while I was under Lloyd's control."

"What?!" Zoltin was surprised, as were the Beasts and riders just arriving to meet Josh.

"I know you are surprised. I also know you like riding these legendary Pokémon. So to make up for everything, you can go to the burned tower whenever you want. I'll give you a ride--the fastest of all land Pokémon. Any takers now?"

Everyone backed away, not trusting the Beast. Shalin was afraid of the speed as well. Finally, Josh stepped forward. "What the hell, I got nothing to lose. I'm game, Akuji. Let me on."

(Cue Music: "Crisis" - Final Fantasy X)

The other riders were speechless as Akuji sat down on its hind legs. Jush scurried onto the black Beast's huge back. "This is worse than Entei," he said to himself. A purple, but faint, glow of psychic energy secured Josh to Akuji's back as it started a warm-up run. After reaching normal running speeds, the ultimate rush began. The combination of Akuji's bouncy gait and Extremespeed sprinting induced near-whiplash while Josh was astride the 400-mile-per-hour sprinter. After the sixty-second sprint, the Black Beast slowed down, taking several minutes to come to a full stop. The purple glow faded, but Josh was too dizzy to hop off the dark-type immediately. He merely sat atop Akuji, trying to recover his balance. Several more minutes later, he jumped off Akuji and back onto Raikou.

"I will be at the Burned Tower if you ever want to go for another sprint, Josh." With that, Akuji raced off again.

(Cut Music)

RaikouRider243
September 12th, 2005, 02:34 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~

Late that afternoon, the substitutes on the Ecruteak Stars were passing their passing, shooting, and goalkeeping on the soccer field behind the gym. When they saw Ace racing toward the field on Entei, the action simply stopped. The other four Beast Riders followed.

"Hey, everyone!" Ace yelled.

"We've missed you," Graav, a left forward for the Stars, replied. "Show us your skills again!" Graav opened the gate and fired a quick pass of the black and white soccer ball to Ace, who successfully received the pass. He dribbled the ball up to the penalty shot line, then delivered his "sideways shot." By kicking the ball from the side instead of the rear, Ace achieved greater shot velocity and a more desirable shot angle. The ball went flying over Keepa's hands and into the net. The team and the Beast Riders applauded.

"Thanks, everyone. Say, I have a better idea than just practicing. How about an exhibition game? Six of you versus six of us."

"Sorry to interrupt," Josh butted in, "But who's this 'us'?"

"You four, me, and a goalkeeper."

"Sure, if you'll give us time to practice. Last time I played soccer was as a junior in high school, and that was for a P.E. class. Any objections?"

"If we get time to warm up, sure, I'll play," Shalin replied.

"If Shalin's playing, I'm playing," Aravan volunteered.

"Great!" With that, Ace left to make an announcement to everyone on campus.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Around five o'clock that afternoon, the bleachers on both sides of the soccer field were half-filled with spectators as the voice of the Ecruteak Stars introduced the players.

"In commemoration of their heroic deeds not only yesterday, but last semester...I present to you the Beast Riders!" The crowd roared as Ace led the team onto the field. "Ace, the right forward; Josh, the left forward; Eron at midfield; Shalin, the right defender; Aravan, the left defender; and finally, Keepa, the goalkeeper!"

(Cue Music: "Blitz Off!" (http://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/sony/ps2/Blitz_Off.mid) - Final Fantasy X)

Campy theme music blared out of speakers as the opposing team entered the field. "Now I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, your very own Ecruteak Stars!" The crowd roared for the home team as the announcer introduced them. "Drake, the right forward; Graav, the left forward; Biggs at midfield; Berrik, the right defender; Letty, the left defender; and Bickson, your goalkeeper!" After another roar, the crowd took their seats. The scoreboard behind Bickson lit up, showing there to be 10:00 left in the first half, with a score of Beast Riders zero, Ecruteak Stars zero. Four officials in black-and-white striped shirts were standing by, one near each corner of the field. Another, holding the soccer ball, walked toward the center of the field. He threw the ball hard into the ground, causing it to bounce high into the air. The game had started.

Eron jumped early enough to knock the ball over Biggs' head and take the first possession. His lack of dribbling skill, however, enabled Biggs to catch up with about halfway to the goal. Knowing the opponent was proficient at blocking passes, Eron tried to break through by kicking the ball between Biggs' legs. He stole the ball.

"And now we go the other way," the announcer said as Biggs dribbled the ball toward Shalin and Aravan, on defense. He passed the ball to Drake. Shalin couldn't block it, but Aravan got a piece of it. Drake hustled after the ball, but could not reach it before it went out of bounds.

Biggs tossed the ball to Drake on the throw-in, setting up a shot. It bounced off Shalin's foot enough to slow it down to the point where Keepa easily caught it. When Eron received the goalkeeper's long punt, the game clock read 8:24.

Midfield was wide open. Berrik charged from the right, but the Zoltin Rider quickly weaved around him. Letty and Eron clashed. "Ace! Do that again!" he screamed as he passed to Ace, setting up a wide-open shot on goal. The ball went flying past Bickson's hands on the left side. The announcer yelled "Gooooooooooooal!" as the scorer ran back to Eron for a high-five. The scoreboard showed a score of Beast Riders one, Ecruteak Stars zero with 7:33 left on the clock. Raikou, Entei, and Suicune lit the sky with an elemental fireworks display. The crowd cheered wildly for Ace.

Biggs received the ball at midfield, and dribbled up the left-center. Eron caught up to him as the nimble Shalin rushed into assist her teammate. Biggs kicked a quick pass to Graav. Neither Beast Rider was able to block it. When Graav received the pass, Aravan was right there. The two collided, and Graav came out on top. He fired a shot at Keepa. The goalkeeper was able to get a hand on it. Shalin was able to recover the ball before it went out of bounds.

About halfway toward midfield, the Stars' entire offensive line was in Shalin's way. She tried to kick a pass to Eron, but Biggs intercepted it. Back near the goal, she was on defense with Aravan. The midfielder broke through both of them, then decided to shoot. Keepa caught the slow shot, then punted it to Aravan, now close to midfield, with 4:12 left in the half.

Before the defenders could reach him, the Suicune Rider kicked a long pass to Josh. The pass ran out of steam and spun out of bounds. Berrik threw into Letty, who ran up to midfield before kicking a pass to Drake. When the forward shot the ball, it bounced off Shalin's fingertips. A whistle sounded.

At the penalty line, Drake fired a rocket of a shot. The ball slipped between Keepa's hands, tying the game at one apiece with 2:24 to play in the half.

Eron received the ball. Farther downfield, Letty and Biggs were on defense. The Zoltin Rider tried to pass to Josh, but Letty deflected it out of bounds. It hit Josh's leg last, meaning Letty would throw in.

Berrik received Letty's throw-in. He weaved around Josh, then kicked a long pass to Drake before the defenders could reach him. No one was near him when he shot the ball from just outside the goalkeeper's box. The shot was out of range for Keepa to block. The Stars were now winning, two to one, with 54 seconds to play in the first half. Ace screamed "Time!!" after the goal, then got in a huddle with his team.

"Eron, you and Shalin are switching places now. No silly turnovers. And Josh."

"Yeah?" he replied.

"When you get the ball, don't just stand there! Shoot! Every forward knows that when you have the ball, you gotta score!"

"Yeah!" The Beast Riders exchanged high-fives before resuming their field positions.

Shalin received the ball first. Biggs couldn't catch her, but Letty was waiting. She fired a pass to Josh, outside of Letty's blocking range. He immediately fired a shot. Bickson caught it, then threw it back in. Ace intercepted the throw-in, fired another shot, and scored. When Biggs recovered the ball after the score, the clock ran out, signaling halftime. The Beasts performed another fireworks show as the buzzer sounded.

The crowd was impressed by the halftime activities. The Beast Riders were showing their weapons and giving demonstrations. Perhaps of more interest to the crowd were the Beasts themselves, particularly those Beasts just coming onto the field. The legendary Pokémon gave rides to anyone willing to climb on. Fifty people, some as young as nine years old, got a chance to ride the quickest of land Pokémon. Family and friends took snapshots of children and relatives sitting atop the Beasts. One boy even pushed Midori so fast that it glowed a bright green.

Ace's position changes remained in effect for the second half. The two teams assembled on the soccer field, ready to square off for another ten minutes.

Biggs received the ball and marched up the field to start the second half for the Stars. Aravan was on defense in the middle, with Shalin behind him. The midfielder fired a quick pass to Drake. Aravan got a piece of it, then Shalin. The slower speed threw off the receiver's timing, causing him to fumble the pass out of bounds.

Keepa threw the ball back to Aravan as Shalin crossed to the middle of her zone. He dribbled the ball upfield to pass to Eron, when Biggs charged in and stole the ball on a long dribble. With no defense to stop him, the midfielder took the ball himself, all the way to the goalkeeper's box. He fired a shot that slipped through Keepa's hands to claim the lead for the Stars with 8:15 left in the game.

"Dammit, Aravan, what were you thinking?!" Ace muttered to himself. He then called for another timeout to have a pep talk with his team. "What we've messed up, we've messed up. Let's not think about that stupid pass or stupid shot, or even that stupid turnover you gave up. Let's think about coming back! Defense, keep on Drake. Make sure he does not get the ball. Shalin, when you have the ball, wait for either Josh or I to get open, then pass the ball. And Josh, when you have the ball, don't just stand there and do nothing! Shoot! Go team!!" The Beast Riders exchanged high-fives before resuming formation.

Shalin took the ball after Biggs scored. She immediately fired a quick, successful pass to Josh. The Raikou Rider repositioned himself closed to and in front of the goal, giving Letty a chance to block Josh's upcoming shot. Ace was clearly frustrated. "Josh, when you have a wide open shot, don't wait for the defense! Shoot the god**** ball!"

"All right, already!" he replied as he shot for the goal. The ball was out of Letty's blocking range, leaving Bickson to deal with it. The ball slipped between the goalkeeper's legs, tying the game. "I believe you owe me an apology, Ace."

"Not until we win the game!" Ace yelled back as Raikou celebrated for the goal its rider scored.

With just over seven minutes to play, the game had essentially become a sudden death situation. Aravan and Eron moved closer to the center of the field. Again, Biggs moved up the center to take the ball to a forward. Eron and Shalin quickly ran up to the adversary. He weaved around the girl, then kicked a quick pass to Graav, who immediately decided to shoot. Keepa leaped up and pushed the ball up with his hands--barely enough to send the shot flying over the goal and out of bounds with 6:29 on the clock and a pending corner kick for the Stars.

Drake's pass to Graav on the corner kick was intercepted by Aravan. He ran far beyond his zone for nearly a minute, trying to find someone open to pass to. Finally, near Ace, Biggs, Letty, and Berrik were all on defense. Aravan was trapped. He intelligently kicked the ball upfield and out of bounde, leaving the Stars with a throw-in deep in their own territory.

Letty threw in to Berrik, who ran up the right side in hopes of avoiding Shalin. But she was too nimble. Before the defender could set up a pass to Biggs, she stripped the ball from him. The crowd was stunned.

Shalin played with the ball to eat up time on the clock. She passed to Josh when she noticed a defender charging from her right. Josh lined up a pass to Ace, who immediately fired a rocket at a perfect angle. He didn't even set up the shot, further confusing Bickson. The ball bounced off the bottom of the overhang and into the net. Everyone in the crowd was on their feet as the Beasts performed for Ace again. Four minutes remained in the game.

The Beast Riders continued to eat time off the clock until a goalkeeper's kick by Bickson reached all the way to Graav. Eron was ready. The two rammed into each other and fell to the ground. There was a loose ball. No one could get to the ball in time before it went out of bounds. However, there was a dispute among the officials over who was to receive the ball, forcing an automatic timeout.

The officials were forced to use the replay camera. Everyone: players, spectators, and even the referees themselves were in suspense over the outcome of the play. With only 2:42 to play, the outcome of the game could hinge on this call. After a nine-minute delay, the head official made the announcement that the ball was out of bounds on Eron, setting up a corner kick for the Stars. Everyone on the team jumped for joy. The sound of booing from the stands filled the field.

Biggs kicked in to Graav. Before he could set up a pass to Drake, however, the forward was surrounded by Beast Riders. Graav and Eron collided again. This time, however, Eron came out on top and stole the ball. He passed to Aravan, then Ace yelled for a short timeout with 2:29 to go. "Eron!! Josh!! Take midfield!" When they moved to their new positions, the nearest official threw the ball down to Aravan. The game resumed. When he kicked a pass to Josh eight seconds later, Drake dove feet-first in an attempt to stop the pass. It was too late.

Josh dribbled halfway from midfield to the goal, then fired a shot that bounced off Berrik's hand. The Raikou Rider went to the line. He got a running start to increase the velocity of the shot. Bickson pushed the ball out of bounds, stopping the shot. The goalkeeper called for a quick timeout. Knowing that they needed two quick goals, he changed the formation to a Front Arrow, moving his defenders to midfield. The crowd was going wild.

The Stars' goalkeeper punted to Letty, now at midfield. Ace, up alone near the goal, could do nothing but watch and cheer his team on. "Let's play 'D'!" he yelled. Shalin was the only one close to Letty. He fired a pass to Drake. Shalin could not block it at all. Ace cursed under his breath.

Aravan got over just in time to slow down Drake's monster Sphere Shot. Keepa had to dive to his left to catch the ball and save the tying goal. When he punted the ball to Eron, the Stars knew it was over. The Beasts filled the skies with fire, electricity, and beams of ice as the three-on-one assault on the goal began. Eron lobbed a high pass to Ace. Showing off his shooting coordination, he performed an amagingly fast, mid-air Jecht Shot. Bickson was amazed at the velocity of the ball and could get nowhere near it.

Down five to three with only 36 seconds left, the Stars huddled, then surrendered the game to the Beast Riders.

Both teams assembled on the field and shook hands. "That was a good, fun game," Josh complimented the opposing team.

"Thanks," Drake replied.

"Hey, I remember this funny story from my soccer days in high school."

"You were on the soccer team?" Graav asked.

"No, just in phys ed class. I was always the goalkeeper for my team. I was the only one to dive for balls. You had to be right up to the box to get past me."

"If this is true, you should sub for us on the team."

"Nah, too much going on already. Of course, we played on a half court all the time. A bit smaller than the two-thirds court we played on today. Now, here's the funny part. Once, when I caught a shot, I punted it very far, nearly scoring a goal." Everyone laughed hysterically.

"Josh, that is nuts!" Ace yelled.

"Then, the very next shot I caught, I nearly did the same thing. I got an assist."

"A goalkeeper getting an assist?!" Drake uttered between bursts of laughter. "That is so rich!"

"I've never heard of a goalkeeper getting an assist!" Ace added.

"Well, at least it's the weekend and we don't have to go back to class," Aravan noted, yawning. "I'm tired!" He mounted Suicune and dashed off to his room.

"He's got the right idea," Josh said. "I say we get out of here and go back to our daily lives."

Eron was still concerned about being a misfit. "Josh, what shall I do?"

"You can stay with me. However, I'd love to get you enrolled in some classes about modern technology. I can teach you, because...well, I'm not paying any more tuition than I have to. College is expensive!"

At that, the Beast Riders left to follow Aravan.

(Fade Out Music)

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EPILOGUE

It took the rest of the semester, but Eron got used to the modern world. He even learned how to use a computer and many basic programs on it. Next year, he would take an entrance exam for Ecruteak University.

All five heroes had to take a trip to City Hall, on the other side of town, to receive licenses for their Beasts. They had no trouble applying, and all were officially recognized within a week.

The programming class finished the final beta of the REBS module, and it featured a painless chip-attaching process. Furthermore, it could hold a database of up to forty Pokémon. Next month, the invention was released publically, earning the class and the college several patents. The college collected 60 percent of the royalties while the class split the remaining 40 percent.

Several days after second semester finals, Josh and Chuck were in the courthouse. The police of Ecruteak City brought charges of municipal trespassing against Chuck, charges of disturbing the peace against ZNN News Corporation, and charges of possession of an illegal Pokémon and two counts of aggravated assault against Josh. All the Beast Rider could do was present the story of his quests to save Johto.

Lawyers from ZNN News Corporation presented two videos; the first was the video of Josh pointing his sword at Chuck, and the second was a video of the five Beast Riders in that large field later that day.

The jury deliberated for two hours before coming back to present the verdicts. Chuck was declared "not guilty" by one vote. ZNN News Corporation was convicted of all charges by a large margin.

When the jurors started to announce Josh's statement, his palms were soaked in sweat. The jury declared him "not guilty," eight votes to five. All charges were dropped.

ZNN had to pay a large fine for the crimes their employees committed. Chuck was fired a month after the case was closed.

Josh and Raikou continued to deepen their relationship as time went on. Every Beast, every rider, and even Ho-oh were proud of not only Josh, but each other for the display of teamwork presented during such trying times.

THE END

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Alana
September 12th, 2005, 03:15 PM
*cheers* Yay! *gives rep* Awesome story RaikouRider! I liked the soccer game. It was unexpected and a nice touch. I dun like reporters so I liked how the trial went. ^_^ Through out the whole story I saw excellent grammar and only a couple of a typos. I hope you write another fan fiction.