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Pro_EV
July 23rd, 2005, 01:31 PM
Fury's Grace

Prologue

"Hank! Hurry up!" A girl with stalky blonde hair laughed as she watched her friend trip and fall into an ungraceful heap on the tan grass that surrounded Lavaridge. "Hank..." she whined, frowning. "How will you ever become a powerful trainer if you're not confident or strong?"

"Ha!" Hank stated, standing up and flipping his straw yellow hair in a calm gesture. "That's what you think! I'll become powerful either way!"

"That's what you think" the girl mimicked, with a wide grin blossoming on her face. "Well you'll get nowhere like this! Come on! Strength and power isn't the only thing in pokemon training!"

"Yeah, right Izumi. What else could help you win in a pokemon battle?"


How ironic it was that his very own best friend had contradicted him in his own reasoning. It was true; he didn't care about strength anymore. The illusions of his Slugma's were enough to confound and confuse an opponent, also allowing him to do whatever he wished while the opposing trainer floundered, lost and helpless in a whirlwind of facades. Hank let a wisp of hair get in the way of his vision, completely covering one eye.

"No, no, no" A large pop rebounded the dome ceiling of the Training Room, bringing Hank back into reality. Courtney burst her bubblegum again. "You're not paying any attention! You look like you have alot on your mind"

"You would too." Hank muttered staring up at her and motioning for Slugma to create a facade of itself in the middle of the field.

Courtney's Ninetales easily burst through the simple illusion made of bending heat and clamped its jaws into the real lava slug pokemon. Courtney looked closer at Hank, and watched as he dozed off into his thoughts again. Another resounding pop and Hank was back on his feet. "What's so important, that even I can see through your falsehoods?"

"Nothing much..."

"Nothing?" Courtney wheedled, putting a pouting look on her face. "Maxie wouldn't like you daydreaming in your battles."

His leader's name brought Hank back to temporary reality. "Yeah, I guess... Slugma, again." His pokemon instantly raised the heat levels around the surrounding area, and to Courtney, it looked like she had landed in a volcano. But sometimes, the scenery faded away, leaving Hank and Slugma in clear view.

"You're not putting your heart into it. What's wrong?" Courtney demanded, after blowing the Slugma away again with a Quick Attack. "Your pokemon's delusions aren't working as well with half of you down memory lane"

But Hank was hardly paying any more attention.


"Hi, Hokey!" Izumi was at it again, poking Hank.

"My name's Hank!" Hank shouted, pushing her hands away. "Will you quit that?"

"Quit what, Hokey?" Izumi asked, flitting her eyelashes innocently. "What do you want?"

"Either call me Hank..." Hank snapped, slapping the slim finger again. "Or call me Hokage."

"But I like Hokey..."

"But I don't!"

"Meany!"

"Stupidhead!" Hank waved a finger at her.

"Spaghetti hair!" Izumi retaliated, placing small and stocky hands on her hips.

"My hair is not like spaghetti!" Hank hollered, while vaguely wondering if his hair really drooped too much. "Tomboy!"

Izumi flushed a brilliant shade of puce "You stink, and so do your illusions! They'll never be like Feizhi's!" with that last remark, she turned tail and fled.

Hank glowered indignantly. Izumi had hit a spark of his pyre. Huffing, he got up from the log he'd been sitting on and stomped off to another part of Lavaridge town and stopped at a small and damp alley, where he knew his teacher would be waiting for him, ready to welcome him with a warm smile and dazzling purple eyes. "Master Feizhi?" he called out to the shadows.

"Yes, Hank?" A woman removed her dark purple hood and blinked slowly. "Is there something you want to know?"

Hank immediately marched in, after making sure no one was around to see him. "What does Izumi work on?"

"Specialize in?"

"What's speshallise?" Hank asked curiously, wrinkling his nose as he sounded out the complicated word for an 8-year old kid.

"It's another word for what you asked me. Izumi specializes in the Kirinokotsu." Feizhi answered, her purple eyes glinting and dancing with light. Her long blue hair draped limply behind her as she walked deeper into the alleyway. "Come here. She has beaten you here today"

"Who? Izumi?" Hank asked curiously, scooching up to where his sensei sat now, crosslegged on piles and scraps of filthy torn up rags. "What is she doing?"

"The art of Kirinokotsu..." Feizhi paused in her wording. "Is complicated. Kirinokotsu is also known as Pyro Bending, or in simpler terms, turning fire into other things. Its sort of like what I'm trying to teach you Hank, but the next level. You merely use heat to make pictures. Kirinokotsu takes immense knowledge of fire and an early start in practicing. Although Izumi is young and still does not know much of the destructive powers of Kirinokotsu, she can be taught how to use it safely at a young age."

"Can I learn Kirinokotsu?" Hank asked eagerly, watching as Izumi commanded her Cyndaquil, Fever, to launch a flamethrower.

"Now make it the legendary bird of flames!" Izumi commanded, watching her pokemon bleat in concentration, bending the fire in a facade of Moltres, then another fiery bird Hank did not know of.

"When you have mastered the art of Illusions." Was Feizhi's gentle reply. But the look in her eyes worried Hank slightly.


Feizhi had never managed to teach him the art of Kirinokotsu. Five days later, her body was found, mangled and bloody. A deep red gash ran from her side to her stomach, and her face had been punched over and over again. In fact, it had been Hank who had found her like that. He had held back a scream and ran for help. Obviously, someone did not want Feizhi around anymore. Then the old herb keeper of Lavaridge was also murdered right in her shop. The same had happened to her. She had just simply bled to death, with the same damage done to her old and worn body.

"HANK!" Courtney bellowed, popping another bubble. "Your Slugma's fainted! What's wrong with you today???"

Hank yelped out loud in front of everybody, and another member of Team Magma smirked in amusement.

"So Hank. Mind telling us what is currently troubling your mind?" Bannai asked, stepping up to the small sandy battlefield. "What could possible occupy your mind even as you train?"

"Wipe that smirk off your face" Hank retorted, holding his ground over the much larger and stronger agent. "I'll have you spinning in facades."

"I highly doubt that" Bannai said coolly, never ceasing to smile. "You seem troubled, Hank."

Even the grunts were beginning to look concerned a little. Hank's face burned as he shot all of them death glares, sending them fleeing into whatever they were doing. "Slugma, do it" he said coldly, throwing out his second Slugma he had acquired two days ago and stepping back to watch the illusion fix into place.

Bannai just grinned sadistically and walked past some attacking Arcanine that had just appeared. "I'm not like pokemon or other unsuspecting trainers, Hank" Bannai punched another heat illusion away. "The only weakness of your heat illusions is that they are illusions, and not real."

Hank watched him. Bannai had a strong mind, and was sure to break out of the illusion soon. "Yeah, but you can't seem to get out, can you?" with those last retorts Hank turned and marched, similarly to the way he had 9 years ago and slammed the door as he left.

Once he was alone again in his dark and silent room, Hank collapsed on the bed and sighed. Taking out a small scrapbook, he began to finger through it, going past all until he reached a picture of a yellow hair girl in dirty rags. Then he flipped to another picture, this time, of himself and Izumi. She had been born to a poor family, while he had been born to an upper class family. But the poor always had so much fun! Every day, he was forced to behave well, dress in fancy suits, and always walk funny. Like Delibirds waddling. Strutting primly, his mother had called it. But the poor, oh, the fun! They wallowed in mud and jumped into canals, getting swept and swallowed by the currents. Going out and running wherever they pleased. And he would have given anything to join the fun. But the poor bullies in town called him a sissy and a wimp. Then they prepared to beat him up, when a small black weasel-like pokemon had defended him, drawing its claws and hissing. The bullies had back off at the sighted of the deadly curved blades and left.


"Hey! Wait!" Hank chased after the shadowcat pokemon. "Why?"

The pokemon did not stop or heed him one bit. It continued to bound off. "Manyu!"

"Come on! Why'd go and help me?" Hank asked, adjusting to a run. "Tell me!"

Just as he had turned a corner, he ran smack into a girl about his age, wearing tatters and rags. "Because" she said solemnly, allowing the Sneasle-like pokemon to perch on her shoulder. "So Muno saved you from Gondown?"

"Gondown?" Hank asked, not exactly knowing what she was talking about. "And what is Muno?"

"Gondown is the leader of the bullies, She said, becoming impatient. "And Muno? Well, I heard Birch dubbed it Manyula, but I have yet to find its real name."

"Who are you?"

"My name is... call me Maru." the girl concluded, nodding. "Come on, I'll show you back."

"That's not your name, is it?" Hank said, not knowing why he even said it. "Maru?"

A shadow crossed Maru's face. "No. It isn't. But not now. Perhaps later"

He still remembered her parting words most of all. They hardly made any sense, but he clearly recalled her saying to him, "If the fates allow it, we will meet again" Then she just turned and left. During three years, Hank had earned her trust, her real name, her friendship, and most of all; she opened up more freely to him. She was not a serious and dark girl at all. Inside, she was hopeful and happy. Hopeful that one day, she would have a new beginning as a Pokemon Master. Happy to be alive. Then there was that fateful day...

"Izumi! Stop! You're tiring me out! If my mom sees me all sweaty, she'll know I've been with you again!" Hank shouted in between gasps and shrudders of his exerted body. "Izu!"

"Yes, spagetti head?" Izumi stopped short, looking at him inquiringly.

"I'm tired!" Hank bellowed.

Izumi seemed to consider it for a moment before pushing it to the back of her head. "I know! I know what'll cheer you up!"

"What?" Asked an angry Hank, leaning over, puffing away.

"Pokemon!" Izumi cheered. "MUNO!!!"

Muno the Manyula darted from shadow to shadow, almost invisible to the naked eye as it landed in front of Izumi. "I'll help you catch your own!"

"What?" Hank asked, jerking his head up. "But I'm 11. Isn't that a little too late to start?"

"It's never too late" Izumi said confidently, tugging him over the fields. "Pokemon like hiding in grass and caves. What do you want?"

"Oh I don't know..." Hank paused. "Master Feizhi let me borrow her pokemon to practice illusion making and practice. I want a fire pokemon."

"Fiery Path!" Izumi sang, leaping away over the long sun-beaten grass. "Plenty of fire pokemon there!"


Without a hesitation, he chose the pokemon Feizhi had always let him practice with, Slugma. But when he returned, he was devastated to find out that two more murders had occurred. His mother and father were... gone... forever.

"Filthy brat! Get out of here! This funeral is for the rich!"

"NO! I have to see Hank!" Came Izumi's voice, loud and persistent.

"As if a ragged little girl like you would know him, The guard growled, giving Izumi a rough shove. She landed, sprawling on the ground. The crowd around her laughed, and a boy or two-kicked dust in her face before moving on, uninterested. The guard rounded up on her and picked her up by the scruff of her rags. "So out you-"

"STOP!" Hank yelled, running to Izumi's defense. "She's my friend!"

"She's a worthless girl. She won't ever be able to do anything!" The guard said, more calmly towards Hank, as though he was soothing a child. "So relax kid. I'll just get rid of her..."

"I said no" Hank's voice suddenly became icy and still. "She's coming with me"

"But..."

"Did you hear me?" Hank said, rising his voice dangerously. "Or are you deaf?"

When he was gone, Hank turned back to Izumi, voice back to normal. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, fine. What about you?" Izumi whispered, casting a sad gaze on the ground. "I mean... to lose your parents. It hurts, doesn't it?"

"What about yours?" Hank asked, helping her up to her feet
.
"Mine died when I was five" Izumi paused, the fact obviously causing her pain. "Both, stuck down by typhus and starvation"

"Hm." Hank sighed, leading her to the crowd again. "Well, you're welcome to stick around..."

Izumi took a closer look at the hostile crowd and shook her head. She held his hand for another moment, and then she broke away and fled off into the distance, Muno leaping after her.


NOte: Izumi is the japanese name for the team aqua admin shelly. This izumi is not shelly!