Tales of the Hashashin: First Book
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September 13th, 2012 (9:44 AM). Edited September 13th, 2012 by Jönne.
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Chapter 11: The Stone of Destruction
Chantalai was walking silently next to Anthrax "Ace" Lane, the Garchomp who would play such an important role on the matter of the Divine Temple. The Zoroark reckoned he was able to kill the dragon on the spot, but running away from those Pokemon was out of the question.
this could get us somewhere. Manipulating them will be easy.
'Where are you coming from?' The Garchomp asked Chantalai, turning his head towards him.
'I'm an Eshirian, from the far northwest.'
'Eshir, I've heard alot about them... they were the only ones to refuse to aid the Frontier, weren't they?'
Chantalai went along Ace's chatting mood. 'Yeah, those bastards! Even Illinkar has sent reinforcements! But no, the Eshir want to live their own dream and think that when the Dark Cult will reach their grounds, they will leave them unscathed!'
He knew that Ace did not really care about the business of Stygia. The Ionian Verdict
were the ones to drive the Dark Cult out of the Hesperian grounds, thus bringing them to Stygia. And they would not apologise for that. Ace shook his head.
'There is always war around here. Nobody can live in peace.'
Maybe if you didn't claim Stygian grounds for yourself, there would be peace,
Bunch of hypocrites... they speak of peace and justice and yet they're willing to destroy everything by taking so many lives.
They passed the narrow path through the hills and screams filled their ears. Chantalai could almost touch the Verdict's power - the instant they heard of battling, they slightly changed their formation and readied battle stances. He thought their iron-hard discipline was amazing. His eyes caught the Garchomp motioning at somewhere behind them as they walked down the hill towards the two parties crushed at each other. Chantalai watched the mercenaries overtaking the Stygians - the fallen Pokemon exceeded four hundred. He wondered if Raskalov's body was amongst them, and if Hermes had died a long time ago; he pushed away those thoughts and convinced himself they were alright. He mourned the allies that had died today; they had died because he brought them here. An extremely loud voice coming from behind interrupted his thoughts.
'Hey! Hey! You, stop fighting! STOP FIGHTING!'
Chantalai smirked, covered his ears and turned behind him. A Loudred was shouting at the Pokemon who were battling down the hill, but none would listen. Ace turned to the Loudred.
'Enough, Loudio. Chant-what's your name again?'
'Yeah, you. Wait here. If you run, we will find you and we will kill you.'
Ace whistled again and the
charged forward. Chantalai was left behind, wondering if the
would take more lives today. The Zoroark stood there alone; he thought that if he was controlling a team of extremely skilled Pokemon dedicated to one cause, his cause, he would be able to accomplish everything. The Frontier would win this war.
He watched as the
got between the two parties, pushing their way to the middle without harming anybody. The Garchomp motioned his fan-like arm and some Pokemon with golden armours were spread across the battlefield, forcing the two parties to stop fighting. Ace perked up his body and looked at the Stygians first, then at the mercenaries.
'What do you want here?'
A voice Chantalai knew well sounded from the Stygians - he saw Hermes with a broken wing and his armour semi-destroyed standing in front of them. Ace eyed him from head to toe.
'Christopher II, the King of Hesperia, has claimed these hills as Hesperian territority for a short period of time. Go home.'
The Pidgeot folded his wings and screamed in a high pitched voice, 'you can't just come in here and do that!' The Garchomp grinned in response, 'it turns out I can.'
Ace turned to the mercenaries and seemed to be thinking for a second. The Jolteon spoke this time. 'Go tell your leader that if he decides to do anythin' funny, we're gonna have war, 'kay?'
Everything seemed to end there. The mercenaries were departing and the remaining Stygians, about one hundred, hid in their Camp. The Jolteon ran up the hill with incredible speed to meet up with him. Chantalai decided to chat with him before they climbed up the hill of the temple.
'What's your name? Or title, whatever'
'The name's Zippo "Reyzor" Cena'
Chantalai looked at Reyzor, and he looked at him back. 'Do you understand the meaning of freedom, Reyzor?' The Jolteon broke eye contact and remained silent.
Just as I thought. They are nothing but tools.
They reached Ace and the rest of the Verdict members who were standing like statues in the middle of the battlefield, between the dead bodies of the Pokemon that had fought there. The sight made Chantalai shiver.
'Let's go, take us to the temple.'
Chantalai nodded and headed forward. He started climbing the hill, leaving the dead bodies behind him. Four hundred lost, plus two hundred mercenaries from before. The death he witnessed gripped his heart like an iron fist, hurting it at first, but making it tough like a stone.
They were inside the temple. The
, silent as ever, was observing the template and its cylinders, as well as the giant black statue on their right. Ace was examining the blue runes of the black cylinders. He called Chantalai and showed him the runes.
The Zoroark crossed his arms and stared at the Garchomp.
'First tell me what do you want here.'
The Garchomp sighed, 'fine, fine. Christopher II has requested we find any precursor technology and destroy it. Once and for all.'
Chantalai laughed. 'You hate the Dark Cult, don't you? Why don't you hit them, instead?'
Ace smirked. He was growing impatient. 'I've got orders to follow. If I question those orders, I'm not worth being in this position. Now - we don't want to waste any more time, go on and translate the runes.'
Chantalai kneeled to look at the bottom of the cylinder. The runes were strange, symbols he had not seen before. They did not seem to be starting or ending somewhere either. He had to think fast.
'It says that the Black and White Gods will descend... a great catastrophy is approaching - and these cylinders hold the keys to stop it.'
'Enough,' the Garchomp said and motioned at a Rhyperior. The massive Pokemon fell on the cylinder and crushed it open. A strange sound resonated in the cavern; the
saw a dark stone floating in the air, where the cylinder was a second ago. Everyone was stunned, feeling the overwhelming power of the black gem - it then flew towards Chantalai who caught it in the air. The moment it touched Chantalai's hand, the sound resonated again, only much stronger. It pulsed even faster and hit the Pokemon in the golden armours like a massive tidal wave, knocking them unconscious.
A winged beast bursted in the cave; Chantalai recognized Richard, who grabbed him and made him jump onto his back. He departed right after.
During this, Chantalai did not realize what was happening around him - he was focused on the feeling of the dark gem on his hands. It was like he could feel its destructive power passing onto him, but at the same time it was so powerful that its power could not be harnessed. He wondered why the stone was flinged towards him once it was free. What else did it hide, except the power to knock out fifty members of the
'Chantalai! Are you alright?!'
Chantalai murmoured something, still staring at the gem. He felt it cold in his hands, he felt like it was built to be used only by his hands, for some reason.
Is this precursor technology?
He snapped out of his thoughts when Richard was flying towards the Camp on the foot of the hill.
'No! Not the Camp, we must go'
'What happened, Chantalai?'
Still dizzy from the shock, he locked the gem tight in his hand and explained from the start what happened in the Temple.
'Oh! They'll surely chase you down...'
'The Baron is responsible for all this. He will die for causing the loss of so many lives,' said Chantalai, his anger firing up like volcanic lava. He felt the object in his hand reflecting his feelings, multiplying them. Chantalai was horrified for a second - what was he holding?
Richard simply nodded. 'I won't argue with you. We will be going in Erca, if that's what you want. But the Ionian Verdict
will chase you down.'
Chantalai opened his hand and looked at the gem. He had a dark expression on as he said, 'let them come. I'll be ready.'
Conrad opened the door's shop and bursted outside.
'How am I supposed to hide a freaking dragon?' he said while staring at Richard.
'There's no need for that. I have friends in town who'll hide me.'
Chantala sighed and walked inside the shop, leaving the dragon in the back alley. Lumos was sitting on a chair with his legs crossed and his old cowboy hat on, the revolvers on the table next to him.
'Hey, Chantalai. How'd it go?'
Conrad walked in the room just as Chantalai collapsed on the chair. He stayed silent for a moment, then looked at Lumos, then Conrad.
'I'm sorry,' he said, and placed the dark gem on the table. He explained everything that had happened ever since they parted from the South Camp. They were astonished when he finished; Lumos was looking at the gem, and Conrad was pacing up and down.
'I think I know what this is,' said Lumos as he pointed at the black gem. 'Raskalov has told me... it is a darkstar. Not many Pokemon are aware of the existance of the darkstars, and little is known about them.' He looked at Chantalai, his green eyes flashing in the darkness. 'Your father possessed one of these objects.'
Chantalai looked at the darkstar. It seemed like a diamond stone, only black. An eerie feeling had wrapped this gem; it wasn't floating, like back in the temple. The Zoroark opened his claws and the darkstar was flinged towards him. The other two were looking at him stunned.
'How do you do this?'
'I'm not sure'
He left the darkstar on the table and opened his claws again. The gem was flinged once again, reaching for his claws automatically.
'My father had one of these? I never knew... what was he using it for?'
'Raskalov knows everything about it - he was the leader of the village, after all.'
Chantalai nodded. He didn't tell the other two, but he felt the powers inside the darkstar were somehow connected to his own powers. It was like they shared a deeper bond, like father and son. He looked at his own reflection at the gem. It then suddenly disappeared, leaving the darkstar as black it can be. He was startled by the change; it was as if somebody had opened the window. A thought appeared into his mind, as if it was not his,
I can rule the world with this darkstar.
It scared him, but he did not let go of the gem.
No... I'd rather use this power for the greater good. I could implement it in my ways - what do I do better? I assassinate the evil ones.
Then another thought popped in his mind,
can I fight evil with evil? Maybe I cannot... but the Hashashin could.
It was a sudden inspiration, an unexpected flash of knowledge.
. That's what he and his followers were going to be called.
The moment of thought was gone as Conrad's voice interrupted Chantalai.
'What will happen with the others in the Camp? The
might kill them all... and what if Raskalov is already dead?' said Conrad, still walking down. He seemed extremely upset. Chantalai shook his head in sorrow that did not truly touch his hardened heart. Raskalov was like a second father to him, even though he knew him very little. He tightened his fist with the darkstar inside.
'Enough of this. I'm here to give an end to the Baron's reign, not to cry over what happened.'
Lumos nodded, agreeing with him. 'I have organized a rebellion. We are working underground.' Conrad stopped walking, drew a chair and sat down on the table with them.
'And I have gathered information regarding the Baron's sources. It seems like he is keeping the Dark Cult's gold in their cathedral. Where could it be more safe, anyway?'
Chantalai laid back on his chair and looked at the ceiling. 'No place is safe with me around.' Lumos and Conrad looked at each other and chuckled. 'You are overconfident...' Chantalai looked at them. 'I am simply confident. I'd rather be sure about my powers instead of overlooking them.'
'.. Lumos, do you think you could plan a rebellion, after we are done stealing all the gold?' Lumos nodded but Conrad looked at Chantalai apaled. 'You're planning on stealing all this gold?!'
The Zoroark was staring at the darkstar again. The gem had charmed him in a special way; he was twisting it in his hands, observing its beauty. After a moment, he answered to Conrad. 'Yes, we're stealing all the gold from the cathedral.'
'But we don't know where it is, in the first place.'
Chantalai got up his chair with his eyes flashing red. 'Then we will burn the place down.' Lumos and Conrad glanced at each other. Their similarity was incredible.
'I'll come with you, then,' said Conrad. 'I'll go fetch the cloaks. I've made two more for me and my brother - we depend on them alot,' he explained, seeing Chantalai's puzzled look. He nodded right after, having a plan already formed in his head, even though he had not seen the cathedral from inside.
'Let me rest for a while; Lumos, you go fire up the crowds. Conrad.. we're leaving in three hours. I want it to be night.'
Conrad was picked off, as he wasn't used to receiving orders. Lumos didn't have any problems; he grabbed his cloak, threw the cowboy hat on the table and grabbed his revolvers. He then looked at them and put his hand on his heart. They mimicked him, and he left the room. Chantalai went to sleep in the other room.
Chantalai launched himself from the soft bed. Conrad heard him and got up as well. The Zoroark fit the gem in a hatchet of his belt. They silently wore their armour and cloaks and exited the shop. They swiftly climbed up a roof and navigated - Conrad started moving northwards, jumping from roof to roof and Chantalai following him from behind.
'Here's the cathedral.'
Chantalai looked at the building on the far end of the Trade Square. He stood on this very roof the day he followed the Baron and the Pope inside the tunnel; now the cathedral seemed much more overwhelming in the night. Its stones had strange shapes, some shapes of Pokemon - after a while observing them, he noticed the figures were Zoroarks.
What are Zoroarks doing in a Dark Cult cathedral?
Chantalai wondered. His eyes fell onto the opened door of the cathedral - a bright light was lighting the whole Trade Square up.
'How are we going to get the gold out?' inquired Conrad, looking at Chantalai.
'We'll figure something out. Now hide under my illusion and we'll walk in the cathedral.'
They leaped down the roof, landing in some bushes. The darkness was thick around there as no light could reach that point. The flags waving on the wires above the streets made Chantalai remember that it was the week of the Carnival of Life and that it would provide them with great cover. Conrad shook his shoulder, pointing at somewhere in the square; Chantalai stared at the Pokemon in the golden armours that were sitting on Lewis's post.
is here... this means trouble.' murmoured Conrad.
'Keep on track. We should be able to fool them. Now, go' said Chantalai and an illusion wrapped them both. He felt the darkstar on his belt shake with power; it was somehow intensifying his own power. They crossed the square, invisible, and sneaked into the empty cathedral.
A giant candle was hanging from the high ceiling, lighting the whole place up. A red carpet was leading to a small platform, and at least fifty chairs were put on each side of the carpet. On the far end of the cathedral, a coloured window showed a Zoroark holding a dark gem in the air. Chantalai looked around - the sides of the temple had windows as well, windows that represented Zoroarks dancing.
They were just standing in the middle of the cathedral. 'Are you seeing this, Conrad? What are those Zoroarks?' Conrad shook his head. 'I don't know... let's move. I see a door on the right.'
They headed towards the silver door and tried opening it, but it wouldn't budge.
'Hold on,' said the Zangoose and stuck his claw inside the lock. He picked it after twenty seconds and they found themselves in a corridor with the same concept as the one the Baron and the Pope had walked in a while ago: black stone and torches with blue flames. Voices were heard from the depths of the corridor. They were headed towards the back of the cathedral.
They reached a semi opened door, still invisible. Chantalai's power was not drained by the illusion, surprisingly. The darkstar was constanly supplying him with energy as it touched his fur. They peered inside - another circular cathedral, smaller, darker and without chairs, was ahead. The Baron was standing in the middle, talking to some guards with dark armours bearing the symbol of the heart crossed by two blades.
'I want to retrieve gold, NOW' ordered the Baron.
'We apologize, sir, but we've got direct orders from the Pope to start saving the gold.'
The Baron seemed frustrated. He vanished from sight and the guards returned to their posts. Chantalai whispered 'Why can't he just pass through the walls and get the gold?'
Conrad shook his head. 'Resources are telling me that this vault is no ordinary vault - the Dark Cult knew the Baron wouldn't be able to resist'
Chantalai felt the presence of more Pokemon above - he sneaked in the room and raised his head above. He spotted flashy red eyes in the darkness.
He then looked at the guards that were spread around the cathedral; more than fifteen of them were standing in the darkenss like statues, most of them steel-type Pokemon. Grey light was passing through the cathedral's windows, giving the place an eerie feeling.
Set the mood
'Let's clear them, nice and easy,' whispered Chantalai. Conrad nodded and they both crossed the cathedral's left side, hiding in the darkness even if there was no need. They approached two Bisharps who were guarding the platform beneath the great window representing a white Zoroark and the darkstar. Chantalai and Conrad stuck their claws on the guard's neck, slitting them open. They grabbed and placed them quietly in the darkness behind the platform.
Their next targets were guarding the other side of the platform - they fell on their arms with the same way. Four guards were down in a matter of seconds; Chantalai heard a voice.
He broke the illusion and pounced on the guard who was approaching them from somewhere in the darkness - he fell down and never got up again. Chantalai unstuck his claws from the Bisharp's throat and deflected an Escavalier's spear-lance hand. Conrad jumped onto their opponent, and threw him to the ground with a nasty sound as his claws penetrated his chest.
A strange sound was heard from above them - a massive Pokemon had launched itself from the ceiling; it landed on Conrad's lower body and gripped him with a vine; it was a Ferrothorn. The Zangoose grunted from the pain and blood started staining the floor as he struggled to get out of its grasp.
Chantalai saw with the edge of his sight guards appearing from the shadows and Golbats coming from above. He joined his hands together, manipulating darkness. Much more darkness was gathered in his hands, and with a sudden crack, an explosion of dark power filled the room; a rift of energy was created between the darkstar and Chantalai's hands. He almost felt it touchable - a power beyond any, so catastrophic that it could leave the entire cathedral to ashes. The pulse of darkness that was sent towards every Pokemon on the cathedral knocked them back unconscious, like it had happened with the
- numerous Golbats fell down, the Bisharps and Escavaliers smashed againist the ground. The Ferrothorn was blown away; Conrad followed it, landing on the platform.
Chantalai rushed over to him and kneeled. 'Conrad!' Blood was dripping down his jaw; his belly was seriously injured, his cloak covered in blood and bits of the dark power Chantalai channeled before were disappearing from his body. As Chantalai removed his hood, the Zangoose opened his green eyes and tried to say something, but Chantalai stopped him. The Zoroark got up and looked at the white figurine on the window, the Zoroark holding the dark gem.
'I'm not gonna pray this time.'
He said coldly, without him even knowing why. He was still looking at the strange window. He kneeled again to the Zangoose with a hardened expression. Their eyes met again; Chantalai's voice cracked.
'Close your eyes, friend... I won't be able to do that.'
Conrad slowly closed his eyelids. Words came out of his bloodied mouth.
'Take.. care of.. my son.'
The Zangoose left his last breath - Chantalai heard his heart stopping. The son of Conrad Cortez was Kenny Cortez, but Chantalai was not aware of his whereabouts. He perked up his ears to hear more sounds from behind him. The guards were getting up.
He did not know why, he scratched the darkstar as he got up; his claws were instanly covered in darkness. Chantalai charged againist one Bisharp, who was still dizzy from the explosion of darkness. He ripped through his knee, making him kneel then stabbed him on the back of his neck; as he fell down, Chantalai dodged a blow from the Bisharp nearby, grabbed his arm and impaled his chest, his claws going through the sharp spikes.
With a swift illusion, he sent an image of his towards the right, where the Escavalier attacked. When he realized he hit air, it was too late, as Chantalai had pounced on him and snapped his neck with an abrupt movement of his hand. He let the darkness on his hands expand to his whole arms; now he was able to fire night dazes at the Golbats who were flying once again. He continued his relentless assault on the guards with an unspeakable, silent fury and a vengeful spite for his fallen friend. He was injured alot of times, but the emptyness he was feeling inside was overtaking the pain.
Chantalai was done with the overkill. More than ten guards and a bunch of Golbats were laying dead on the ground. His white cloak had become red; he kneeled to the ground, touching his chest and left arm where two massive wounds were dripping blood. Multiple scratches were aching other parts of his body as well, but the pain was focused on the big ones. He panted heavily, his vision was blurry and his mind was racing; he thought of getting Conrad outside, but that would mean he would have to carry him and he was in no condition to do that. Finding the vault was out of the question - he did not even see a crypt or anything. Chantalai was simply... looking... at the ground. His vision cleared up and he blinked; he was looking at some small runes encraved on the floor. He suddenly felt like there was nothing beneath his feet. He opened the hatch on the floor and saw stairs leading into darkness; he promised himself that Conrad's sacrifice would not be in vain.
With his mind empty, he climbed them down in a pitch-black corridor. His eyes were opened wide as he walked through the darkness. There was nothing living down there, he could feel it. No breath to be heard, nothing.
His eyes were used to the darkness after a little while - he could see a big door in front of him. Without giving it much thought, he drew the darkstar from his belt and raised it high, gathering energy on his hand. The rift was created again, sounding like a thunder. The door opened in front of Chantalai, as if it had no lock at all. The vault was filled with light; the flame of the blue torches was reflected on the bars of gold - around one hundred golden bars were there. He started carrying them to the stairs, ignoring the intense pain; he didn't have a place where he could hide them in mind.
Chantalai got out of the hatch on the floor and looked around; he decided to ignore the dead bodies of his enemies. His eyes fell on the white Zoroark again - he wondered how the Dark Cult was aware of his species and why they would draw them on the cathedral. He then noticed that the window could be broken; approaching the window, he threw a night daze at it. The force of darkness collapsed with the coloured window, blowing it to pieces. Chantalai looked outside the window and saw the backalley where the Pope and the Baron had disappeared. He slowly started to throw the gold bars away; his movements were shown that he was badly hurt. However, he did not give up for the sake of Conrad, who was now laying in the darkness next to the platform.
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