Tales of the Hashashin: First Book
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July 31st, 2012 (11:22 AM). Edited August 2nd, 2012 by Jönne.
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Chapter 2: Crimson Light
It was a nice day in Vanir forest, the bird Pokemon were chirping, the sun was heating the whole area up - something really rare on this part of Stygia - and Chantalai was standing on top of a rock. The Zoroark's dirty mane was waving with the wind; he was trying to look directly into the sun while 'meditating'. His father had instructed him he did this in other places than the waterfall.
Two Linoones from Krept town were staring angrily at him from the ground;
Chantalai had serious reasons to avoid them
. They were wearing two black bands on their heads with thunders on their foreheads. They seemed really pissed off - they were shaking their tightened fists up in the air as they screamed.
'Give back what you stole from us!'
Chantalai looked at them with a calm expression. He was only twenty years old, but his eyes could inform someone smart that they would be dead in seconds; the Linoones kept bothering him, however.
'I haven't stolen anything from you. You better leave me alone.'
He smirked, now looking at the sky. The Linoone Gang in the town was getting on his nerves lately, and he was getting on theirs. But those Pokemon were extremely
; they climbed up the rock. Chantalai got up from his spot on the tip of the rock and faced them.
'We know you took some gold from our chest!'
The Zoroark folded his arms and bit his lips. He promised himself he would leave no traces next time. Now the Linoones were approaching on their four like predators. As they reached him, Chantalai unleashed a dark pulse, throwing both of them back; he pounced on the nearest Linoone, ripping the side of his head with his claws. The poor Pokemon grabbed the wound, trying to make it stop bleeding, but it was too late. Chantalai was already turning to the other Linoone who, despite being fearless, was now staring at the Zoroark in fear. But he managed to overcome the fact that his brother died in front of his eyes and charged forward.
The Linoone with the black band started a fury swipe assault at Chantalai, who was parrying every hit by deflecting his foe's claws with his own. The pace continued, both of them seemed equally powerful, but then suddenly, the form of Zoroark vanished and it was replaced by that of a giant Heracross. His foe was stunned and routed to the ground as the giant bug attacked him; under the illusion, Chantalai performed an uppercut, sticking his claws deep into the jaws of the Pokemon. He threw away the dead Linoone, the Heracross illusion fading the next moment.
'Any one else wanting to die today?' he asked the dead bodies sarcastically. As he walked away from the corpses, blood was dripping down from his claws. No Pokemon had seen what had happened, except the birds which flied away as the Zoroark climbed up a tree and blended with the darkness.
'Chantalai!' shouted his father when the Zoroark returned home late at night. His red claws wereclean, reflecting the light of the candles
the kitchen. Adalbert's expression was a mix of anger and admiration; Chantalai found it hard to take him seriously.
'Another two murders!'
The younger Zoroark clutched his heart with both of his hands in a comical move full of mocking intention. 'Oh no! Well it ain't the first time. Not the last, either, right dad?' he said cheerfully, smiling and winking. His father sighed and looked down on the ground.
'You're not supposed to kill your allies!' Adalbert said and walked over to his son to grab his shoulders and look him in the eyes. Chantalai was caught off guard and his smile disappeared.
'They were bothering me. They attacked me first,' he said in an apologizing tone. However, his father knew him well: honesty wasn't a strong trait of Chantalai. In fact, it wasn't a trait of his at all...
'I heard rumours that you stole gold from their gang. Why? We have an entire vault full of riches, Chantalai! We're far beyond "rich", and you waste your time with stealing gold and not even doing the job right! Cover your traces before you leave the crime scene, boy,' he snapped at a rather fatherly tone Chantalai never took seriously. The days Adalbert was a mighty spy and teacher were over, now he was losing control of his son gradually.
'Teach me, then.'
'I will, one day...'
They heard somebody walking on the yard; Raskalov entered the kitchen from the open door. Adalbert walked over to him with his arms opened, hugging him. Chantalai put his hand on his heart, performing the Stygian salute of the army. His uncle copied him after he got off Adalbert's hands. The Weavile had a serious expression on, which was making him look older than he really was; he glanced towards Chantalai, but Adalbert raised his hand.
'He's staying. He's old enough. Now what's wrong?'
Adalbert inquired, afraid that the news would be about the murders. But Chantalai knew Raskalov wouldn't be worried about that, on the contrary, he would be happy. He was half Ancelotti anyway, even though he did not bear the surname. Despite that, Chantalai wasn't seeing him often because apparently, he was busy with the recent Dark Cult assaults on Krept. He could feel his tension as he spoke quickly and taking deep breaths after periods.
'The villagers are getting fed up with the assaults as more and more die, Adalbert. Their camp is on top of a rock in the Dead Clearing.' The Dead Clearing was a rocky area of the forest with no trees that resembled the Wastelands of Stygia, but it was surrounded by Vanir forest. Adalbert cracked his knuckles with a determined expression.
'What do you want me to do?'
'You, nothing, you can't do anything... they know you're coming, they
somehow, they're aware of your tricks.'
The older Zoroark perked up his body. 'Humph.. "tricks"... they're not merely tricks.' Chantalai nodded in agreement to protect his abilities, but nobody noticed him. He stepped forward.
'Can I go?'
Raskalov and Adalbert seemed worried. 'No! Of course not,' Raskalov shouted, Adalbert staring him down. Chantalai knew from the flash of their eyes that they admired his guts.
'What are you gonna do, then? They'll crush our forces like bugs.' said Chantalai with a smirk - he was new to this, but he wasn't ignorant. Even he understood that they were fighting a long lost war. 'And we don't expect any reinforcements from Alamagna, as the Queen is under the Dark Cult's control.'
The Weavile sighed. 'Maybe this is the end of Krept as we know it. Those good-for-nothing "crusaders" are hiding behind the banner of the Dark Cult and the excuse of a holy w
, only to destroy everything in their wake...'
Adalbert shook his head. 'We'll have to keep fighting. What's the situation inside the forest?'
'We sent two of our scout teams for recon and they never came back. And our citizens are refusing to fight...'
Cowards, all of them!
thought Chantalai. An unnatural urge to kill every villager rose, but he swallowed it up. He remembered his father saying,
work for whoever pays more,
but this was a different case. If Krept went down, the Ancelottis would fall as well. But Chantalai was suspecting that the Dark Cult had other business in the other side of the Wastelands - Vanir forest was hiding the secret they'd been looking for, and its caretaker was his father. Chantalai spoke again with a stone-hard determination that resembled his father's.
'Then let me scout in the forest and lead your forces behind the enemy. We know Vanir better than they do, and if we strike swiftly, the impact will be a lot bigger.'
The Ancelottis turned to look at him astonished.
'Impressive! You are a battling prodigy, after all. Your plan might work,' said Raskalov while rubbing his chin. Chantalai folded his arms.
'Tonight, before Karnos' light, in the square of Krept,' said Raskalov plainly and left. The sun was already setting.
Karnos was the red planet with the rings that appeared in the sky after midnight for an hour, and before the dawn for another hour. Two times every month, the crimson light would be almost as strong as the sun's, but with a menacing touch that would make the residents of Vanir hide in their homes. They believed that Karnos was the home of the Gods, and that the crimson light the planet spread on Stygia was the lost blood of all the fallen warriors that had fallen protecting the region from the Dark Cult. At these two times in the month, the planet would appear much bigger than the sun in the night sky, offering a majestic sight only for Chantalai and his father to look. The Ancelottis did not believe in the nonsense of the Vanir residents, as they weren't original Vanir.
The citizens of Krept, despite fearing the wrath of their Gods and Karnos, gathered in the square of the village, which was pretty much a single road and houses
it, on the foot of a hill. Shouts were heard as the Stygian natives were preparing for battle, attaching the armours onto their bodies.
Raskalov had climbed up a platform and was giving orders to the soldiers. Chantalai was walked down the north street with his dark powers overflowing from his body; Karnos toned him up massively, especially when it was 'full'. The Weavile greeted him with a wave of his hand and focused on his business.
The soldiers begun moving out under Raskalov's command. His silver armour was shining red; Chantalai was jealous. His father had told him that he would gift him a tristanite armour if he managed to help Raskalov and Chantalai had taken him seriously. Tonight, he would protect the family's name from those who claimed that they left Krept to the hands of their enemies.
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