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Old July 21st, 2007, 05:51 AM
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silverfrost
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: NY
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Chapter 1- The Clever Girl Who Made Mistakes


“Ouch! Not so rough!” was all Eralynn could think to say while being dragged through the double doors of the Great Hall.

Her father forced her into the giant room, currently uninhabited. He held tightly to the back of her dress, not saying a word until he heard the sound of the massive doors slamming shut behind him. Then, he abruptly set her down in a chair against the side of the Hall and grabbed onto her shoulders, making her turn around to face him.

“What on Earth were you thinking?!” he screamed at her, all the while his furious stare burning through her tough facade. “So many more could’ve been hurt!”

Eralynn trembled in front of her father and quickly looked to the ground for some sort of comfort. She clasped her hands together tightly in front of her to attempt to stop them from shaking. She felt angry, culpable, and worried at the same time.

“We are constantly supposed to watch for them, and you just had to play one of your little games, didn’t you? You are the daughter of the Advisor to the King and your behavior should be much more controlled and... proper,” he continued, trying to make her feel as guilty as possible. After a silent moment in which he shook his head, he said “Eralynn, your foolishness will no longer be tolerated in this city.” Then, after a brief pause, he spoke more softly, “You are to clean and polish every inch of this hall.” At this, he turned around and walked quickly out, letting the doors slam loudly again.

Her father, Orriso, had always been obsessed with what others thought of him. He was a very smart man, but always worried about looking his best before the people of Derelon. He was rigid and strict, especially with his only daughter, and always felt the need to punish her for her abnormal behavior. He didn’t let her get away with any mistake, which, in actuality, didn’t faze her too much. He wanted to make his daughter into the perfect, mature, and appropriately behaved little girl, which was the main reason for his stern attitude with her.

After a minute of surprise accompanied with silence, Eralynn turned around to look at the task that was ahead of her. The Great Hall was a huge room, with tall windows at the far end and shining tile floors. On both sides of the windows, there was a staircase, leading up to the homes of all the members of the Royal Court. The walls on the sides of her were of pure white and covered in paintings of great kings before her time, stretching nearly all the way to the current king’s throne, along with large, circular white pillars on either side of the green carpet. This great chair was made of pure silver, with a deep green seat and back-rest, both made of delicate, soft cloth. Below the elegant chair, bright white marble steps led down to the dark green carpet, which in turn led to the doors of the Great Hall.

Eralynn’s heart sank as she examined the room.

“Well, maybe I can get this done quicker than last time,” she murmured to herself while frowning miserably.

She walked over to the third painting from the doors on the left. Reaching up on tip-toe, she pulled at it slightly and yanked the polishing rag she’d hidden there out from the rear of the picture’s frame. She’d concealed it there just in case she’d be attending to this job again, as she was nearly sure that she would be. Keeping it in the hall merely saved her the extra time of running up to her room and getting it.

She decided that it would be best to start polishing the king’s throne, as that would be the most noticeable, and no one would pay much attention if she didn’t clean everything else as well as the magnificent chair.

She walked straight down the carpet quickly towards the throne. She bent down to begin cleaning the smoothest side underneath the arm rest, but she paused. The flat silver exterior shot her reflection back at her, almost as if in a mocking fashion. Instantly, she was reminded of the question that had plagued her throughout the duration of her life.

“Why am I so different from these people?” She wondered hopelessly, feeling for sure that there would never be a way to answer.

She continued to stare angrily into her very own face. Her unique, long, jet-black, wavy hair was parted off to the side and tied loosely into a braid. Her eyebrows were also pitch-black, making a definite contrast with her pale, fair skin-color. Dark, thick eyelashes bordered ice-blue eyes, which seemed to stand out above her smaller, less dramatic facial features. She had a very small frame and was very thin, appearing younger than her true age, which was seventeen. Most of the inhabitants of the city were much taller than her, and her eyes, piercing and almost mesmerizing, were different from any other’s.

However, her physical appearance was not the only aspect that attributed to her uniqueness among her people. She had a fiery temper, which often-times got her into trouble. Despite being emotional and caring, she always tried to convince her peers that she was fierce and inviolable. She also had quite a taste for tricks and practical jokes. She was very clever, but never used it for anything besides annoying the other residents of the city with her pranks. This, combined with her utter negligence, made for a rash and dangerous human being not quite like anyone the people of Derelon City had ever known before.

In fact, her temerarious behavior that very day was the reason for her present punishment. She peeled her eyes away from her reflection and began to think about what had happened earlier. She remembered the events quite clearly.

It was early afternoon and the sun was high in the sky. Looking out through her bedroom window, Eralynn could see the plains that lay stretched out beyond the city, along with the distant forests surrounding them. She caught a glimpse of about 8 people practicing archery not far off, atop a small hill on the grass. Quickly grabbing her bow and arrows, she fled out of her home, down the street, and out into the vast plains.

Seeing the warriors-in-training always made her upset. Although there were very few girls that grew up to fight in battle, they still had that option. Eralynn, wanting to protect the city and her people more than anything else, wanted badly to become a warrior. She had dreamt about it her whole life, despite how difficult she heard training could be. However, her size and physical ability gave her father reason to say no when she had brought up the subject and asked him for his approval. This, happening nearly one month prior, was the cause of a turning point in Eralynn and her father’s relationship. She felt much more distant from him, as he had essentially crushed her dreams. Watching the young adults who had been allowed to train to become warriors did not help matters, rather, it made her quite jealous of them. Hence, she was constantly trying to prove herself to her peers and her father.

She now quickly ran across the grass, moving closer and closer to the small hill. Since she wore a pure white dress, she became worried that the sunlight reflecting off of her wouldn’t exactly be discreet to the archers. Therefore, she made sure to run behind the hill so she wouldn’t be seen. When she was directly behind it, she crept to the top slowly, careful not to make any noise. She’d climbed to just the right height where she couldn’t be seen by anyone on top of the hill, but she could peek up to see a bit of them.

She needed to look only once to catch a glimpse of the targets they were shooting at, and also to see if their instructor was looking. Inferring that the archery master wasn’t looking her way and most likely watching what her students were doing, she decided to steal a quick glance. She pushed down onto the soft grass with her hands to elevate herself and lifted her head. She only looked for about two seconds before dropping back to the ground, but that was all she needed.

Pictured in her mind were the circular targets, located about five feet from each other, along with the pupils lined up to face their respective targets. The teenagers stood approximately thirty feet from each of the carved pieces of wood that were sticking out of the ground. Since these were the archery training grounds, these targets remained there permanently. They were essentially a large circle, with alternating white and black rings, supported by a five foot stake attached to the underside, which in turn was wedged underground. Aside from the targets’ locations, Eralynn had to note the position of the instructor also. She was simply looking over one of the boy’s shoulders to watch his progress during the practice.

Grabbing her bow with her left hand, she sat with her legs folded underneath her. She reached back instinctively with her right hand to grab an arrow out of the arrow bag strapped across her chest and resting on her back. Barely thinking about it, she put the arrow to the bow and pulled the shining, silver string back, still supporting the arrow with her hand. She felt the string straining against her grip as she took aim at a target not even visible from her perspective. After a moment of making sure her measurements were correct, she let go of both the string and arrow, letting it soar over the hill, quickly out of her view. She listened for only a moment, until she heard the “tick” of the arrow as it dug into the wood, hitting its mark.

“Woah...” she heard the boy directly in front of her gasp in surprise.

She had no time to waste, however, and she continued on with her strange plan. Without getting up to give herself away, she dropped to the ground and rolled to the left five feet, holding her bow close to her. She resumed the previous position and shot another arrow. Indeed, this one hit the target directly too. She kept going with this, four more times, every arrow landing correctly, until she knew she’d reached her final target. This time, however, she aimed her arrow slightly differently, and let it go.

“Ah!” screamed a familiar voice as the arrow sailed past. She could hear him panting slightly. “That came way too close to my head... Who is shooting at us all?”

Finally, the small, mischevous girl stood up from her obvious hiding spot and began to sprint down the hill. All the while, laughing hysterically. She’d shown them all up, and that was all she’d really wanted.

“Eralynn!” The archery master, called Jalin, yelled after her once she’d finally spotted the culprit. “You get back here, young lady! I don’t have time for your games!”

Glancing back, she could see the angry instructor and Rhylan, the boy her arrow had nearly hit, watching her as she fled. But as Eralynn ran and ran, heading straight for the forest, Jalin’s screams faded away.

Still slightly amused, Eralynn’s sprint turned into a jog as she neared the edge of the forest. She ran into the woods between two familiar trees. This was the path she took almost daily. She walked along the dirt road that lay ahead of her while looking around and enjoying the splendor of the woods. It was summer; therefore, the trees and other plants were looking their finest. Although this atmosphere was much darker than that of the plains, the occasional ray of sunlight escaped down through the treetops, reflecting off of the forest floor.

As she traveled further along the path, she could hear the faint sound of running water. She began walking faster, since now, she was getting closer. Finally, she approached a river that flowed south, the direction heading away from Derelon City. There were six stones that protruded above the water and led directly across the river to the other side. Eralynn always used these as a sort of bridge that helped her easily hop across the water. She did this, and once on the other side, she saw a cave not a great distance ahead. Walking perpendicular to the water, she advanced toward the cavern, observing the rays of sunlight beaming down on the ground before it. At its mouth, she came to a halt.

“Aerance! Come on out!” She called, hearing her voice echo on the cave walls. She waited a moment for her friend to emerge, but there was no response. Sighing, she entered to have a look for herself.

She had only walked a few feet inside when she heard a loud thump outside behind her. Also, she could suddenly see her shadow on the left side of the cave, as some sort of light was being projected inside.

She whipped around only to see her harmless best friend, Aerance, standing outside, peering in at her. The sly flame horse backed away from the entrance as Eralynn emerged. In the sunlight, her faultless white coat shined elegantly. Her mane and tail were made of bright orange, red, and yellow flames, which made even the beautiful fresh-water stream appear dull. Her large, almond-shaped, black eyes caused her to seem innocent at first glance, while this was usually not the case.

“Ah, girl, you almost had me there,” Eralynn said, while laughing and greeting her friend with a hug.

Aerance snorted in disbelief at Eralynn’s remark.

“Okay, okay. I did jump a little,” Eralynn admitted, lowering her voice. “But hey, I just scared Rhylan and all the other warriors.” At this, she rolled her eyes, annoyed.

Listening, Aerance smiled with her eyes and whinnied softly. She nuzzled Eralynn kindly on the cheek.

“Ah, so I’m guessing you’d like to go riding now?” Eralynn asked the Ponyta with a smile.

Aerance nodded her head once in approval and knelt down beside Eralynn, making it easier for her to hop on. Eralynn grabbed onto Aerance’s back, swung her left leg over her, and pulled herself up. Once she was comfortable, she patted Aerance on the side of her neck affectionately.

“Anywhere you want to go is fine with me, just not too far, okay?” Eralynn requested.

Aerance whinnied and set off at a gallop across the woods. Eralynn held onto the reigns tied loosely around Aerance’s muzzle as she nimbly wove through the trees and rocks. Eralynn felt the wind rushing at her, while her Pokemon glided gracefully across the surface beneath her. The trees seemed to fly by on either side of them, and Eralynn smiled, reminded of how much she loved to be with Aerance. They rode this way for quite some time, until they both spotted something in the distance.

“Whoa, whoa, girl,” Eralynn said as she lightly tugged on Aerance’s reigns, so that she’d stop running.

She stretched forward on the Ponyta and squinted through the trees. She could vaguely make out two dark figures in the distance. Looking hard, she could see they were some kind of wild Pokemon, but she couldn’t tell which species they were from this range. She urged Aerance to get a little closer, so that she could see what they were.

They were somewhat large and black in color. Their fur was unkempt and very messy and stuck out in all directions. It was much thicker and longer on their backs, tails, and feet. Their stomachs were a charcoal grey, and their eyes were a gleaming, intimidating red. They had pointy ears that were sticking up, and they possessed sharp fangs. They seemed oddly familiar to Eralynn, but the strangest part about them was how they wore a sort of collar around their necks. These were deep, dark red, and Eralynn assumed that this meant they both belonged to someone.

She listened intently as they fought over a piece of what appeared to be food. Hiding with Aerance behind a gigantic boulder, she peeked out to watch them bicker. It looked like they were playing tug-of-war with whatever they had. Occasionally one would let it go and nip the other’s shoulder in frustration. She stared hard at them.

“Where have I seen these creatures before?” She kept asking herself.

She searched the depths of her mind and memories until at last, she remembered. She had seen a picture of these animals, called Mightyena, when she was much younger. Her parents had been trying to teach her the ways of defense against the power-hungry Team Devastation in this war. The humans of the amoral side usually owned dark-type Pokemon, such as these Mightyena. They also commonly preferred to tame poison and ghost types, as well. However, they weren’t exactly picky. They’d all have loved to get their hands on any type of powerful Pokemon, no matter what the risk or consequences happened to be. They didn’t care, as long as they had a means of obtaining power at their fingertips.

“You know, they’re from Team Devastation, Aerance,” she whispered to her friend as she stopped looking at them over the boulder.

She knew that these Pokemon weren’t members of her city, so they had to be here on some sort of mission. She thought as quickly as she could. Anyone else would’ve simply tried to scare them away or run and tell the King or Advisor what they’d seen, but Eralynn wasn’t really like anyone else. She had a plan in mind, in which she would get rid of these pests by herself. She whispered the general idea in Aerance’s ear, as she would need her help, and they both began to emerge from their hiding spot, Eralynn still on Aerance’s back.

“Excuse me!” Eralynn shouted, causing the Mightyena to jump in fear.

They turned around to face her and instantly started snarling. She gulped, now slightly frightened, but continued on.

“I think I can help you two out...” she let her words trail off, hoping their anticipation would rise.

But before she could tell them the rest, one of the beasts charged at them, snapping viciously at Aerance’s feet. She whinnied loudly, kicked her front legs forward while leaning back and standing only on her hind legs, nearly throwing Eralynn off of her. Luckily, she held on tightly and the black wolf Pokemon resumed its position at a safe distance from the two. To comfort the nervous pokemon, Eralynn patted the nape of her neck. It seemed to calm her down after a few seconds. Then, she resumed her plan.

“As I was saying,” she continued in an arrogant, over-confident voice, “I think I can help you two out. I know why you’re here and I can tell you what you want to know about the people of Derelon City.”

The Mightyena that seemed a little less vicious sat down and curiously cocked its head to the side, but still looked suspicious. The other was still growling softly and baring its sharp teeth.

“You see,” she examined her nails carelessly while she spoke, “I’m out so deep into the forest because I was planning on running away from these wretched people. Their beliefs are simply ridiculous, in my opinion, and frankly, I’m rather sick of all of them. I think they should all be destroyed.”

The malicious, snarling Mightyena stopped its growling and seemed intrigued by what Eralynn was saying. This wasn’t what they’d expected from a girl of Derelon City. Eralynn could tell that the two were letting their guard down, so she continued with her proposition.

“So, I can lead you to a secret passageway into the city, if you’d like. I think it would be great if you could hit them with a surprise attack. They’d never have enough time to gather the warriors and weapons. It would be perfect.” She looked out at nothing in the distance, acting nonchalant.

The Mightyena that was sitting down got up rather quickly, and the angry Mightyena took a couple steps closer to her and Aerance, still glaring at them suspiciously.

“Come! But make haste, because we don’t have much time!” Eralynn commanded, nearly certain that they’d follow her after hearing her speech.

At this, Aerance wheeled around and started to gallop back towards the way they had come.

“Okay, now,” Eralynn said softly, in only Aerance’s range of hearing, “I want you to run, not quite your fastest, but with enough speed so that they won’t be able to stop abruptly when need be. It’s imperative that we lead them to the place I told you about...”

Aerance shook her fiery mane up and down while she ran, showing that she understood. She sped up slightly to a comfortable running speed and headed for the river.

Eralynn glanced behind her to see the Mightyena following them at a good distance behind. She turned back around and looked ahead. They were coming, now, to an area of forest that was thick with brush. If unfamiliar with these woods, one wouldn’t know what was on the other side of all the dense, abundant shrubs. However, Aerance and Eralynn knew what lay beyond, and they would use that to their advantage. Eralynn hoped that this plan would work, as she’d have no other chances to get rid of the misled creatures.

Turning around, she shouted at the two mysterious Pokemon following them, “Now, unless we’re swift, people will see us, so do not stop!”

Aerance accelerated, causing Eralynn to hold tightly to the reigns. They were getting closer... closer... She could hear the gentle sound of flowing water straight ahead. This was it. Aerance and Eralynn both lowered their heads and Aerance burst through the surprisingly thin layer of brush and with a magnificent leap, she landed on the other side of the rushing river. She had just barely made it to the other side. Her hind legs actually landed on the edge of the water, but using her forelegs, she managed to force herself up the steep bank. And now, all they had to do was wait a moment to see if their plan would work. Aerance turned around to face the brush on the other side of the water, and Eralynn watched too.

They heard the sound of quick footsteps approaching and suddenly, one of the Mightyena broke through the bushes, landing in the water. It had tried to stop before falling in, but the force it had used while breaking through the layer of shrubs had disabled it from halting. Almost immediately after, the other wolf Pokemon leapt through the plants, and noticed mid-air that it was hovering above water. Of course, now it was too late for it to save itself, and it plunged into the flowing river.

Eralynn waved condescendingly to the two dark Pokemon as they quickly flowed downstream while trying to keep their heads above water.

“Nice work, Aerance,” she complimented genuinely. “Now, let’s go home.”

Aerance turned and trotted casually in the opposite direction of the river flow, straight back into Derelon City. She eventually found the path that led out into the plains, and as she carried Eralynn home, they could both hear a faint howl in the distance.

Eralynn looked back at the forest, pleased with her work. She felt she’d actually done something to protect the city for once, and she smiled at the very thought. She wanted to tell her father everything that had happened. Maybe now, he’d realize how smart and brave she was. Maybe now, he would accept her...

Once they got close enough to the edge of the city, Aerance stopped and let Eralynn jump to the ground. The girl pet her friend on the nose, and she was off, back into her home in the forest. Eralynn watched her run away.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Aerance!” she called after her.

Then, she retreated home, into Derelon City, where she barely belonged. She ran for the palace, anxious to tell her father what had happened. Oddly enough, it seemed as if everyone was in their houses and the streets were mostly empty. Then, she saw three men carrying what appeared to be an unconscious Charizard across the stone road.

“What happened to it?” she asked them, but they were in a hurry, and did not answer her.

She stared after them a moment, utterly confused, then turned around and continued walking towards the palace. Eventually, she came to the huge building, and witnessed her father pacing in front of the steps that led up to the double doors of the Great Hall. Off to the side, she could see some warriors removing their armor.

So many questions flashed through her mind. What were the warriors doing in their battle armor? Why did her father look so upset? What had happened to that Charizard?

Puzzling her further was her father’s strange murmuring. “It’s coming... the prediction was true... doomed... we must find it...” she caught only snippets of his strange words as he bit his nails and mumbled.

Slowly and curiously, she walked over to her father. She worried that her very presence might make him even more anxious and aggravated than he seemed now, but she wanted answers to her questions.

“Er... Father?” she asked quietly.

He jumped as if she’d suddenly come up behind him and screamed in his ear. “What?! What is it, now?” He asked irritably.

“What on Earth happened here...?” She didn’t know where to start, but she decided that a general question would be best.

He paced still, tugging at his own hair with one of his hands and shaking his head. “A sneak attack... Somehow, no one saw them get in... How could this have happened?”

These words did not provide comfort to Eralynn, but only worry. “Father, who got in?” She asked.

“A small pack of Mightyena. They were somehow unnoticed...” his words trailed off in sadness.

“But... how could this be? I chased them off earlier!” But the moment she said this, she knew from her father’s expression that she had made a mistake.

He immediately stopped pacing as soon as the words escaped from her mouth. He faced her, wide-eyed in disbelief.

“You... what?!” He spat.

All the hope she’d had previously was viciously drained from her body. She could only stand there and stare at him in awe. She was speechless.

“Eralynn!” He shouted now, “You know what you’re supposed to do if you ever see anyone suspicious! You must always tell me!

His anger scared her more than ever. She tried to justify her cause. “M-my intentions were good, though! I chased two of them away not too long ago... I thought that was all of them...”

“I don’t care what your intentions were! That was an irresponsible thing to do, and... you- you will be severely punished!” Without thinking, he grabbed her by the back of her dress and pulled her into the Great Hall.

And now, here she was, polishing everything in this giant room. Somehow, she knew that this wouldn’t be the last time either. She knew that thinking about her father’s anger with her wasn’t the best idea, so she tried desperately to think of anything else, but to no avail. She felt her temper rising now, not with her father’s actions, but with her own. She’d never loathed herself more than she did now, and she just wanted to escape. She wanted a way to rid herself of her abysmal shame, but she did not know how. Without much of a choice, she swallowed her tears and continued working. The last thing she wanted was for someone to come in and see her acting like a wreck.

She continued with her punishment, now scrubbing the tall, glass windows behind the throne. It was now dusk, edging towards night. She would have to go up to her room soon. She dreaded the idea of trying to sleep, however, as her thoughts continued to turn back to her sire. Suddenly, she was interrupted when she heard the huge doors opening behind her. She turned around slowly, as if expecting something horrible, but saw her father. He marched down the long, green carpet, apparently trying to contain his animosity. Without so much as a glance at his daughter, he hopped up the stairs to the side of the throne, heading for his living quarters.

Eralynn frowned with sadness and confusion. What was she to do? Her own father hated her and she didn’t have anyone to look to for comfort, since Aerance was not allowed in the palace. And, perhaps it was justified. After all, how could she have been so sure that only two Mightyena were near Derelon? They obviously just got lost from the rest of the group and were stuck in the forest. Orriso was right. The right thing to do would’ve been to warn them. Maybe she could have saved her city if they were notified in time…

Clearly defeated, she decided it would be best to retreat to her room for the night. She climbed the stairs lethargically, barely feeling the strength to move. She entered her room and instantly fell upon her soft bed. She lay there for hours with her eyes closed, trying her best to sleep. To her dismay, her thoughts continued racing nearly too quickly for her to comprehend. She thought about everything: her lack of happiness, her awkward relationship with her father, her only friend, Aerance, what prediction her father could’ve been speaking of... All of these kept her awake until her mind eventually began to relax, allowing her to gently drift into a deep sleep.

She did not know it, but this would be the last time she’d sleep through the night upon her comfortable, familiar bed.
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