Chapter 9: The Hospital
The intense sunlight made the Zoroark open his eyes. He was feeling strangely... intact. He took a look around, only to see rocks covering the temple. He was still standing on top of the black cylinder, with the rocks that had collapsed from the ceiling all around him.
'These miracles are really starting to get on my nerves' he said to himself, getting up. He realized the sound of the river was gone. The two statues were under the rocks now, Chantalai reckoned. The only part of the chamber where no rock had fallen was the black cylinder, for some odd reason. He observed the rest of the cylinders were still intact, though partly covered by rocks. The template seemed to be cracked up in the middle under the weight and the force of the falling objects.
He once again forgot about the miracle and looked up; the sun shone brightly from above, rocks forming a climbable path towards freedom. The air was much more fresh now, Chantalai inhaling with happiness. He would later regret not investigating the unseeable object that saved him. Once he got out of the hole, he realized he was in another temple which had an open roof, letting the sunlight fall directly into the template underground, where he was a moment ago. He was amazed by the artwork on the walls of the square, simple temple: the two Pokemon, black and white, fought with each other with giant jolts of electricity thrown from the Black God and torrents of fire from the White God. On the opposite side of that wall, some kind of map unfolded, taking up the whole eastern wall. As Chantalai would find out later, this was the map of the world, the Outer World as it was named by the priests. Chantalai peered at the compass tied on his wrist, then felt the wind blowing through his cloak. He figured he was in a high place and looked around for some signs. From the exit of the temple (or, it's entrace), he could not see any trees, only clouds. He rushed outside, realizing he was on top of a hill covered by the clouds that travelled close to the ground, as it usually happened in the grasslands. That meant he was somewhere in the grasslands. His only thought was to go to Erca and warn Alinthea about the Baron's intentions. He would later come to study the temple.
He peered down the hill - it was pretty difficult to climb down, as the wind blew, reminding Chantalai of the river which was now blocked. What had happened to all that water, he wondered as he jumped down from rock to rock, his cloak racing with the wind. Once his feet were touching the soft and wet grass, he glanced at his compass again and headed inside the cloud towards the southwest. After a while running, the great shadow of Erca's walls hit him. Tired as he was of climbing, he walked up to the guards and fell on his knees. He left that image of himself behind as he walked invisible behind them, inside Erca with a slight smile on his face, well-hidden under the hood.
'Where've you been?! The whole city is looking for you!'
'Tell me what happened.'
'Lady Alinthea has been arrested by the Baron's forces, who claimed she was mentally challenged! This is the greatest insult the Baron has commited towards the Merchant King's family...'
The Zangoose was breathing heavily and his face was transformed from the anger. Chantalai did nothing to calm him down; he was angry as well. He had already taken the decision of lifting the whole hospital up in the air. Conrad suddenly continued speaking angrily, like he remembered something important.
'And the Baron has given the city an order to arrest you! What did you do when you were gone?!'
Chantalai explained what happened the last twelve hours as fast as he could. He had no time for this.
'Will they hurt Alinthea?'
'You can bet they will.'
'Oh, so now you care about what happens to her! You know what, I'm just gonna deal with this alone!' Chantalai exploded, his eyes burning from the anger. He turned around and exited the shop, putting his exhaustion aside.
Chantalai was now hiding in the bushes outside the building's side. He hadn't understood how time passed as he walked through the city. Once again, he observed the building patiently while he was on his four, like a predator. Silence had fallen, and suddenly he realized he was able to hear someone breathing nearby - it was a massive Pokemon. The Zoroark jerked his head behind him, recognizing the Salamence, who was hiding in the darkness.
Chantalai got up and approached him. Richard seemed sad; he looked him in the eye.
'You won't be able to get Alinthea all by yourself.' He said austerly. Chantalai ignored his remark.
'How about you and I work together, then?'
'I don't know about this...'
'I've already spent an hour evaluating the hospital. I can't get in from the front, but it's easy if you get me there by air, while I shield you from sight with my illusions.'
Richard nodded slowly, seeming convinced. Chantalai hopped on his back, careful not to be hit by the dragon's huge wings; he remembered the flight Hermes had given him in the battle of the Eastern Frontier.
The Salamence kicked the ground and they found themselves midair in no time; Chantalai had already manipulated the sky, making them invisible. He took a moment to admire Erca from above, he could not believe he was flying. He tried not to look down as they charged down the square yard of the hospital.
Richard landed softly on the ground, still invisible. Chantalai jumped from his back, instanly evaluating the place. Guards everywhere - they were wearing these light armours. An Aggron, two Bisharps and two Mawiles were patrolling the area, two Bisharps in each entrance and exit. Making them around ten guards, not taking into account the ones that were inside the building. Chantalai motioned Richard to leave, as the illusion was tiring his mind.
'Wait for my signal'
Once the Salamence was out of his reach, the illusion broke, Chantalai's image appearing for a mere second in the middle of the hospital's yard. The guards saw him, apparently, and headed over to where he was. Chantalai thought of dealing with them right now, but on his second thoughts, he decided not to raise any alarm. He slid invisible, like a ghost, towards the entrance of the building.
'Did you see that?'
'Something was here, and it looked like what Baron is searching!'
'I'll get a promotion if I catch him, for sure!'
Chantalai almost laughed. He continued his way, the two Bisharps in front of him completly unaware of the fraud in front of their eyes. The Zoroark slipped between them.
Screams reached his ears as he entered the hospital. He walked through the hall with ease, climbed up the stairs and headed over to a doctor's office, thinking he would get some information about where Alinthea was. The doctor, a female Gardevoir with a tattoo of the black heart and the blades carved on her chest, raised her head from her desk to see a door opening by itself. She walked around the desk, Chantalai enjoying the terrified expression on her face. He broke the illusion and jumped on her, grabbing her neck and holding her down againist her desk.
'Tell me where Alinthea is, and you might live.'
The Gardevoir remained silent; her eyes glowed blue for a second, Chantalai feeling a weak, unseen force pushing him away. His red eyes sparked with anger when he realized she was using her psychic powers. With a menacing whisper, he gripped around her neck with both of his hands so she wouldn't scream.
'These tricks won't help you here. Get it?'
Her eyes had opened wide in terror as she was looking at Chantalai's expression. He, on the other hand, wouldn't be so violent if it wasn't for Alinthea. Seeing she wouldn't speak, Chantalai's face transformed into a Spiritomb, which opened its mouth wide and released darkness. A high pitched, terrifying scream was heard, only in the doctor's head.
He left her neck go. She couldn't speak from the shock, only cower in fear from the shock. Well done, he thought sarcastically to himself.
'This is for the prisoners,' he said coldly, sticking his claws right through her torso, exactly where the Dark Cult's tattoo was. Blood was spilled everywhere; Chantalai heard footsteps outside. He instanly grabbed the Gardevoir and placed her behind the door, him transforming into her in a second. A Bisharp walked in and before he could say anything, Chantalai mimicked a female voice.
'Knock the door before entering, dummy!'
'Uhh, yes, ma'am. May I ask what happened to your voice?'
'Just drank something weird my grandma sent me.. what're you doing here anyway?'
The Bisharp looked apaled for some reason. Chantalai wondered if he would meet the same fate as the Gardevoir behind the door did.
'Alinthea's refusing to speak. What do we do?'
'Refusing to speak'? About what? Chantalai nodded to himself under the illusion. The sooner he killed the guard, the less he would have to fight afterwards. He approached him, the Gardevoir illusion staying put. The Bisharp knew something was wrong and he backed off.
'You do nothing. You die.'
He said coldly, again, with the same tone of a killer. The image of the hoodied invader froze the Bisharp to the ground for a second. Chantalai stuck his claws inside the Bisharp's eyes, like his father had taught him. With his other hand, he grabbed his steel neck to prevent him from screaming; he kicked his knee, the force making the Bisharp kneel, the Zoroark took his claws from his head and slid them in the Bisharp's chest, still gripping his neck.
Chantalai's enemy was dead within seconds. He forced his claws out by kicking the Bisharp away, lifted the dead body with difficulty as it was heavy due to the steel, and placed it behind the door with the Gardevoir.
Any more? He thought mockingly to himself as he walked out of the office, leaving a blood pool behind him. Chantalai perked up his ears, listening to the whole hospital. Screams, Pokemon begging and dying breaths could be heard from around the corridors. After a while of staying on the spot, he detected the voice he was seeking: Alinthea.
'Are you alright, Lady Alinthea?'
She nodded quietly, then eyed the dead Gallade behind Chantalai.
'Did you really have to do that?'
She said austerly, but she smiled right after. Chantalai took off his hood and smiled back.
'Somebody has to do the dirty work.'
'Oh.. and why is that somebody you?'
'My father was serving the Frontier as a spy, and so am I. I participated in the battle of the Eastern Frontier.'
'Isn't that nice?'
Chantalai detected admiration in her voice. She got up to her feet and approached him. He could feel the warmth under her fur; he looked her straight in the eye.
'Let's go, my saviour!'
Alinthea said, giggling as she walked past him. The tips of three of her tails gently touched Chantalai's face, who was staring at her exiting the room; he was briefly stunned. Then he bolted outside and walked next to her.
'Where is Richard?'
She was calm, and she calmed Chantalai down, too. He put his hood back on.
'Outside. I have to warn you, Lady, we might face some combat when we exit the building. Do you maybe want to stay here while...'
'No, of course not! I wouldn't leave you alone!' She said with another giggle. Chantalai thought her voice was sounding like a melody in his ears.
'Do you know how to fight?'
'Boys used to fear me, you know...'
Chantalai didn't lose his smile. He glanced at Alinthea, unsure of whether she was being serious or not, but once their eyes met, he knew she was simply teasing him. He took his eyes from the Ninetails, now looking at his right sleeve, which was painted with blood. He would have to clean it up later.
Chantalai suddenly stopped, and with him stopped Alinthea.
'What is it?'
He motioned her to be quiet and perked up his ears while staring at the floor. He stayed like this for ten seconds; the patrol was coming right towards them, as the climbed up the stairs. Chantalai was tired, and he was aware that casting illusions in this state wouldn't work quite well. They had nowhere to hide.
'Lady, please wait here.'
He said with his nicest voice. He touched Alinthea for the first time by putting his clean hand on her shoulder. She stayed put, silently as Chantalai left without even looking at her. He thought he was going to be distracted by her image, thus losing focus on his illusions.
The Zoroark silently approached the stairs and looked down, seeing four dark figures coming upstairs. He suddenly realized he could smell them - two of them were Mawiles, and the other two were Bisharps. He evaluated his options, raising both of his hands and looking at them. Then he looked up the ceiling, a torch of some kind was hanging from there. He jumped on the wall and kept his body next to the flame. His enemies had almost reached the second floor the light went off.
Chantalai launched himself from the wall, the darkness covering him like a curtain. He landed on the two Bisharps in the front, slicing their necks with force and precision, always careful not to touch their head's razors. Chantalai immediately got up and slashed deep one of the Mawile's throat, making him scream, then he kicked the other in the gut and pounced on him as he backed off, throwing him down and killing him on the spot.
The Zoroark got up with a slight discomfort running down his spine. I took four lives in three seconds... father would be pleased, his thoughts were interrupted by Alinthea who walked over to the scene; she saw the bodies on the floors and let out a cute howl, Chantalai jerking his head towards her.
'Excuse the mess, Lady.'
He bowed to her, smiling, even though he was surrounded by death and the blood was spread on the floor. She stared at him, Chantalai avoiding her eyes - he felt she did not approve of this. They started walking down the stairs, the two falling in a cold silence. He felt his insides harden; if Lady Alinthea did not like what he did, he was not going to stop doing it. Helping the Frontier was his father's job, and he would continue it as well - Alinthea was only a subject the Frontier was interested into. Alinthea broke the silence as they walked through the dark hall.
'Oh, Chantalai, Can you not refrain from taking lives so nonchalantly?'
'I have been given a task. It matters not how I will complete that task - only that I will see it is done. I'll kill anybody who stands in my way.'
Chantalai was looking at her firmly when saying this. His expression was indicating he fully believed what he was saying. He saw a sign of admiration in Alinthea's face, but she soon turned her head around, staying silent. The Zoroark kept looking at her.
'We will have to face some combat out there. We can't get out without being seen.'
The Ninetails nodded, without saying anything. Chantalai motioned her to stay put once again. He vanished from sight and walked outside the entrance, where the two Bisharps were standing guard with their heads turned towards the yard. The Zoroark paced silently in front of one guard and performed an uppercut that hit the Bisharp's jaw with force, the claws killing it instanly; he stuck his claws out and moved as fast as lightning towards the Bisharp before him, who was then turning his head. His claws went through the Bisharp's throat. Both of the guards fell on the floor, Chantalai motioning Alinthea again. She followed him outside, trying not to step on the blood pools.
Chantalai broke his invisibility, gasping as he did so. He was starting to get tired, both physically and mentally. He faced the guards with Alinthea standing behind him; they started shouting and charged towards them. A thick stream of fire was shot againist them from Alinthea, Chantalai looking at her, surprised with a slight smile. The fire melted a group of steel Pokemon on the spot. More guards were running towards them; Chantalai stared at their opponents, thinking they were too many to deal with. He opened his arms and mouth wide, the flaming cobra appearing from his mouth again, spitting green fire, hissing at the guards. Green flashes lighted the whole sky. The animation left some of them cowering in fear, some others launched ranged attacks againist it. Once they saw it could not be affected, they thought it was fake and charged againist Chantalai.
The hoodied Zoroark emptied his mind of any emotion and focused; raw darkness was formed in his hands, covering them entirely. The next moment, a thick wave of darkness was launched againist the guards who shouted as it hit them, blowing them back. A Manectric threw a thunder at Chantalai from the side, but he dodged it and impaled the guard with the darkness on his hands. He violently slashed another Manectric's face with both of his arms.
Suddenly, a dark, winged figure attacked him from above - a Golbat. Chantalai tried to get the Pokemon off his fur, but it was gripped tightly, leaving him exposed to the guard's attacks. A metallic sound was heard as something scratched his chestguard. He felt a stinging pain on his belly right after; he swung around, trying to free himself from the Golbat who was laughing. His illusion of a giant Gengar faded right away as he took another hit in the chest - just then, a burst of fire blasted the Golbat away. Chantalai fell on the ground, touching his belly. Hot blood was spilled on his fur and cloak from a big and deep wound. His vision blurred, and after some moments he passed out.
'Let me deal with them,' shouted Chantalai. He tried focusing his mind on an illusion, a Gengar with six long arms appearing behind the dragon. But as Richard was ascending, Chantalai needed to hold on tight to him and Alinthea to make sure she wouldn't fall; he lost focus and the Gengar faded.
'Hey, you wimps! Stop sending us fake images!'
I'll send them something real, Chantalai thought, turning around; he launched another wave of darkness with a nasty sound. The daze hit the Goldbat and the Gliscor who were flying close, taking them down. Chantalai hung from the dragon's neck with one hand, and with the other he was holding Alinthea's arm. Finally, Richard stopped ascending. Chantalai laid on his belly, hugging Richard's neck. Alinthea was now concious, holding onto her bodyguard's torso behind Chantalai. The cold wind was whipping their faces as they flew outside the city, towards the grasslands.