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Old August 11th, 2012 (08:40 PM).
silverexorcist's Avatar
silverexorcist
Individualism in Normalcy!
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Evergrande, Hoenn
Gender: Male
Nature: Adamant
"It's been a while since you've come to restock on berries." The Berry master commented as the two of us strode through the plentiful garden. On Route 123, east of Mauville, my old master lived in his cottage with his wife. Their garden had just about every berry planted and growing imaginable. The Berry master had lost what little hair he'd had left since I'd last seen him and he'd found som more wrinkles, but he still managed to keep up with my stride quite easily, barely making use of the cane in his hand. He was picking berries left and right along me, easily using his sharp eye to pick out the ones that were ready and tossing them back toward Snorlax, who lumbed behind us, stuffing its face with loads of edible berries. My master's wife sat on Snorlax's shoulder, holding a basket full of berries for Snorlax, making sure he didn't accidently eat any of the ones we tossed back. The ones we picked went straight under Snorlax's fur--the perfect storage area since my own bag wasn't big enough to carry them all. Snorlax's capacity to hide berries in his fur was something he'd learned from when he was a Munchlax some time ago.

"I'm sorry for not visiting more often." I apologized absently. "I rarely get the chance to come by here with any free time. Honestly, I have somewhere to be even now."

"You'd think you'd work less, since the Elite Four's only required duty is during the Pokemon League once a year." My master chuckled. "But you're actively working as a mythologicial researcher. You've always been so independent and over-engrossed."

"Speaking of myths...master, have you ever heard of the Schola?"

"Ah yes, that group of people who worship that legend about the parrellel world, yes? It's been a long time since I've heard about it."

"Exactly that one. For some reason, I was attacked by the Schola just yesterday."

"A member of the Schola attacked you?" My master blinked in surprise as we came to an abrupt stop. I turned to face him and he eyed me carefully, taking in my expression. "You're not just exaggerating this time, are you?"

"I wish I was, but once I got the chance to think, it all came back to me. That cloak, that voice, even the battling style. He kept his face hidden, but I've encountered Xansa once in the past, though briefly. His mastery in rock types is relative to his personality; solid, unrelenting, impossible to be swayed. I'm not yet sure as to why he attacked me, but I'm confident that there is a good reason for it. He's not the type to attack people simply on malicious intent."

"And you? What do you intend to do? Considering you came to collect all these berries, you must plan on having a grand old picnic to celebrate the good times before surrendering your life, eh?"

"Hardly." I laughed. The old man knew me well. I'm sure that there is a way to settle things without pointlessly sacrificing a life. I won't do something stupid like self-sacrifice--that only looks good in the movies and books."

"Your strong will reminds me of those two you used to travel with." The Berry master sighed proudly. "It seems like only yesterday that Wattson introduced me to a sharp-tongued adoloscent who lacked manners of any kind, in need of discipline and knowledge of the under-appreciated art of berry cultivation. And now you're older! Brings tears to my eyes..."

"Hey now, don't go all sentimental on me." I warned. "I don't want to have to give you an awkward hug."

"Don't be ridiculous!" The Berry master smacked my knee sharply with his cane as he frowned. "It was a figure of speech! As if I'd cry over you! Honestly, I'm never this worked up until you come by. No wonder I never missed you."

"Wow, mean." I chuckled as the Berry master grinned at me. "Looks like I managed to teach you something after all."

"I have some special berries that I can lend to you, if you like." My master said after a moment as we continued gathering berries. "You turned them down last time, but I'm sure you'll find use for them now somehow."

"Go ahead." I said, not paying much attention anymore. I was vaguely aware of the Berry master being picked up by Snorlax and yelling, "Onward!" as they lumbered away, back toward the cabin. I stared at a Pomeg berry for a long moment before a smiling face appeared through the leaves.

"Something still bothers you, huh?" Phoebe asked as I ignored her, taking a bite out of the berry.

"Something isn't adding up." I murmured. "You heard Xansa, didn't you? Based on what he said, he wasn't acting completely on his own will. He was at least using information given to him by someone else. But the closest contact I've ever had with the Schola in person before today was years ago. Xansa is the very top of the Schola. He has the strongest faith and would die for the sake of Arceus. But because of this, he tries to kill me? That's the complete opposite from what I anyone would expect. I would assume his source of information is the cause of this, but I can't imagine who that would be. The only people who could influence his actions that I know of would be his four advisors, but they're the same. Why would they want to have me killed?"

Phoebe stared at me blankly for a long minute.

"Zephyr..." She began slowly. "What are you talking about? Arceus? What does that have to do with you being attacked? And what advisors?"

I sighed. I'd forgotten that I hadn't said a word to Phoebe about anything yet. I'd been so absorbed in my thoughts that I'd just assumed she was as informed as me by accident. Phoebe frowned as she stepped out of the bushes.

"Just how much am I missing, Zephyr?" She prodded. "Do you know something?"

"I know a lot, Phoebe." I muttered. "Too much, but not enough."

She continued to frown at me but let it go rather quickly, simply shrugging.

"I guess I expected this. You tend to be one step ahead of things, so I'm not mad. That's why we're heading to Mt. Pyre, right? I sensed somethign wrong in my home and you somehow drew a connection to the most spiritual place and Hoenn and being attacked by Xansa. That's why we headed east instead of going north after Xansa."

I nodded. Phoebe had the rare talent to communicate with Pokemon--but it was only the ghost type, which she specialized in. She had an empathic connection to Mt. Pyre, the graveyard of Hoenn and resting place of the red and blue orbs. When she began to feel uneasy and told me that she felt that something bad was going to happen at Mt. Pyre, my suspicions were only further aroused. But I still hoped I was wrong. I couldn't believe that it could happen in Hoenn, but if there was even a chance...

"Zephyr, I'm going to go on ahead, if you don't mind."

I blinked at Phoebe in surprise as she said this. "Actually I do mind. If there is danger over their, I'm not fool enough to let you go alone. Just wait until those two return and I'll-"

"Nope. Too long. I'm worried about my grandmother, Zephyr. I've been part of the Elite Four longer than you. I'll be fine until you come, okay?"

Before I could refuse her again, she released her Dusclops from its pokeball and the two melted into the shadows. I considered pursuing, but it wasn't worth it. She was right on one point--she was part of the Elite Four too. I didn't have to worry so much.

It wasn't much longer until the Berry master returned with the berries he wanted to give me. The five berries were special berries that his wife cared for herself and only gave to those she favored, such as another discipile who had wanted to use berries for the sake of contests, unlike me. Honestly, these berries were useless to me as they were, so I'd refused them last time. But I wasn't like I was then, so I gratefully took them and hid them in Snorlax's fur before returning the Pokemon to its pokeball. The Berry master and his wife came along as we headed uphill, deciding to remain with me until we reached the water to go to Mt. Pyre. I didn't mind--gave me something to talk to. The two of them hiked upward quite easily with my master's wife's Shuckle using its tentacle-like arms to climb. We'd nearly reached our destination when our path was blocked by several people in black cloaks. It took me one moment to recognize the strange horse hanging from the rosary around their necks.

"Geez, their quick." I muttered miserably as a salvo of attacks from Pokeball flew toward us. The attacks were deflected as Shuckle quickly erected a protective barrier with "Protect", surrounding the three of us completely. I swung my yoyo out and my Linoone appeared on the ground just behind the barrier, glaring at the attackers. Several Octillery, it seemed, and Makuhita. The enemy didn't seem particularly strong (like Xansa) but dear god, there was a lot of them.

"You didn't happen to see a dark skinned girl in a sarong pass by here, did you?" I asked calmly as the attacks ceased and Shuckle dropped the "protect". No reply; they only advanced closer.

"These are the Schola, eh?" My master asked as he released his Donphan, getting ready to fight.

"Hold on, master." I said quickly before he could attack. "Could you please stand back? I want to get this done with quickly, so you can just head back to your cottage."

"Oho, you mean you're going to take this seriously? I wouldn't want to get in your way then! Come, dear, let's leave Zephyr to play."

"Do be careful." The Berry master's wife said gently as she sat behind her husband on Donphan's back. "And don't forget the Custap Berry--it could save your life!"

I waved toward them as they headed down hill and out of sight. Once they were gone, I took a few berries from my pocket and tossed them into the air. Linoone jumped up and caught them in its mouth easily, and his cheeks bulged as he stored them in the pouches for later use. Linoone stood on its hind legs and bared its claws as he prepared to fight. The Makuhita stepped in front of the Octillery at the order of the Schola, letting the ranged attackers prepare and aim as the close ranged attackers got ready to charge.

"Let's see if you guys will be enough for me to vent my frustration out on. If not, you're only a waste of my time."

Things come to light as the fighting ensues! What does Zephyr know that others do not? Do his answers truly await at Mt. Pyre? What is up with these grunts despite what Mr. Briney said? Next time, Zephyr vs. Jasmine!
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