Not just one epic battle, but five of them... At least, I hope they'll be epic.
Yeah... Honour and pride and all that are very important to him, so the fact that he gave up is a very painful thought to him, one that rocked his entire world.
Chapter Sixty-Five: Light and Darkness
The day of their challenge came rapidly. It seemed like one moment they had days of training left, but the next moment it suddenly was the evening before their first battle. No-one spoke much, tense as they all were. Every hour that passed on the final day went far too quick. There were twenty hours left... Then suddenly only seventeen, sixteen, fourteen, eleven, ten, nine hours left. After a night of very little sleep it was time to begin their challenge. Octa felt like his blood had frozen, his heart having to pound heavily to make it circulate at all. It felt like his chloroplasts didn't process any light, frozen with dread.
After having his badges checked a second time, Black was admitted into the northern half of the League. It was very quiet here as they left behind the modern architecture of the southern parts of the League and approached the five towers, while Team Plasma's castle enveloped them more and more. All five of the towers were part of the same building, a huge round, open complex supported by enormous columns. Once they were inside Octa was awed by the magnificence, and yet the simplicity of the great hall. There were four staircases leading to the towers, and a single statue in the middle of the hall. There were words engraved upon it:
'Five great warriors form this Pokémon League. To the north-west is one who has mastered the dark-type. To the south-west is one who does not fear the ghost-type. To the south-east is one who channels the power of the fighting-type. To the north-east is one who knows the mind of the psychic-type. One who can defeat these warriors with one's courage and wisdom shall be led to the summit, where the Champion awaits.'
They took the stairs at the back of the hall to their left, leaving the great hall. The light dimmed soon as they climbed into Grimsley's tower, until they were in utter darkness. The stairs ended and they carefully took a few more steps forward when a bright, fiery light enveloped them and the ground started moving at the same time. Most of them lost their balance and fell, but quickly recovered. They were on a crimson conveyor belt that was covered in red carpet. It went up and around a bend, and a torch lit as they passed it. The conveyor belt moved them up and around, and more torches lit as they passed. They saw more of Grimsley's tower as they got higher and the light increased: it was a gorgeous, ornate room that reminded Octa both of home and an 18th century theatre. It was clearly decorated by a man with style.
The conveyor belt took them higher and higher, and after two large circles they had reached a platform. A gigantic chandelier above flared up and bathed the tower in orange light. There was a black sofa on the other side of the platform, and on it the pokémon master himself sat, looking proud and gentlemanly, yet at the same time bored and slightly lazy, slouching a little. He had blue hair with two large spikes of it pointing up above each ear, and wore neat black and red clothing. He had a long yellow scarf that hung onto the ground.
“You?!” exclaimed Black. “What did you do to Grimsley?!”
Sly laughed. “If it isn't Black from Nuvema Town! I had never expected to see you here. But to answer your question: you're looking at him.”
“No, I'm not,” said Black sourly. “I'm looking at Sly, a petty thief and kleptomaniac from Nacrene City.”
“It's true,” chuckled Sly, “I did that a while ago, it was quite funny. But allow me to reintroduce myself: my name is Grimsley, and Grimsley means me.”
“We're supposed to believe Grimsley of the Elite Four is some common thief?” scoffed Octa.
“Not a common one!” Grimsley pointed out, clearly understanding him. “A master thief, if you please. Because I make sure I am a master in everything I do, and what I do is whatever is fun. It's important to master the cards you hold in your hand. Master thief Grimsley, master gambler, pokémon master, master of the dark-type.”
“And master liar,” said Black. “The game is up, Sly. Where is the real Grimsley?”
“I already told you. I wouldn't be here if I wasn't him. And you wouldn't be here if you hadn't challenged us. So you have a simple choice: fight me or surrender.”
“Fine then, I'll believe you're Grimsley. For now. But if you are: why did you stop me from battling N? Surely you must see Plasma is a threat?”
“Not to me,” boasted Grimsley. “They can't steal my pokémon, so why would they be a threat to me? Besides, it's more fun to test your prowess in battle first. That's my right as the first member of the Elite Four.”
“Maybe it is, but what about all the trainers who have been separated from their pokémon, or even killed, because of Team Plasma?”
“What about them?” Grimsley shrugged. “Bad luck. They're not my concern.”
“I'm going to battle you. Now! While I'd rather fight properly, the League forces me to battle according to certain rules. So we'll each use six pokémon, one at a time, there will be no substitutions, no items, and no fighting when a pokémon is no longer fit for battle. Honchkrow, begin!”
“You have a Honchkrow too, huh?” laughed Black. “Selene, show it you're best!”
Selene flew up to meet the Honchkrow as it soared through the air. They both floated for a moment, then Grimsley's Honchkrow suddenly made a viciously sharp downward turn and loop, swooping by Selene like a black, feathered lightning bolt. She fell down in a spiral and hit the ground. The others gasped in shock as Grimsley laughed. “You're fighting the Elite Four now, Black! The time for playing games is over.”
“That was a cheap shot!” snarled Aqua as she rushed forward. “But I'm not dropping my guard around you!”
The Honchkrow laughed as it made a quick turn to dodge a beam of water. “Cheap shots are what dark-types are all about, you silly girl. Stay in the light if the dark scares you!”
Octa decided not to point out her boyfriend used cheap shots all the time to great effect. He wondered whether she really did care for Selene and want them to win or was just pretending. Though Boreas' assurance she was on their side was a strong argument against it, he still bore some suspicion; while Boreas was the best friend he had ever had, he had been known to be wrong. He dearly hoped the Glaceon was right about Aqua, though, as the thought of his dear friend having to go through her betrayal was even more dreadful than the fear his family might expel him.
That thought was a surprise to Octa, but he realised it was true: he really had come to care more for Boreas than for his family, or possibly even for Toxica. Their friendship had come a very long way since Octa had rescued a little Eevee cub.
A loud clanging noise awoke him from thought: Aqua had finally hit the Honchkrow, along with the chandelier. Fortunately the chandelier didn't shatter or fall down, but the Honchkrow wasn't so lucky. A wave of water formed around Aqua and slammed into her enemy as she pounced it. She yelped when the Honchkrow stabbed her with its sharp beak, but it couldn't fly away, heavy with water, and was defeated soon.
Grimsley laughed as he switched out for a Liepard. “Not bad, it seems you do have some strength! This will be fun.”
As the Liepard appeared it made a little bow, saluting Aqua. The Vaporeon returned the gesture, and Liepard immediately flew at her, its claws stretched out, giving her eight deep red cuts into her side.
“Hey!” Boreas shouted angrily. “Aqua'll get you for that!”
Aqua reacted with similar anger and tried to capture her opponent in jets of boiling water. Octa thought Liepards were quite weak pokémon, but this one clearly wasn't: it nimbly dodged Aqua's attacks and, despite her own speed, occasionally clawed her. Boreas cheered her on, and Octa saw the completely smitten look on his friend's face. It would shatter him if she turned out to be a traitor. Octa sighed as she managed to inflict some damage on the Liepard with a beam of water. Things had been so much easier before she had suddenly dropped into Boreas' life nearly a year ago. Though it was great to see his friend so happy with her, it was also painful to see him hurt, and occasionally a little annoying how irrational it made him act and how much time he spent with her. Cold fury filled Octa's mind. If Aqua was just using Boreas to spy on them, if she was about to hurt the Glaceon so terribly... Lucius would be the least of her problems.
Octa became aware he had been staring angrily at Aqua only a moment after she felt his eyes burning with the stare his family had perfected so long ago. She succumbed to a nearly irresistible urge to turn around and look him in the eyes, and though Octa realised his mistake and quickly looked elsewhere, the momentary distraction was all the Liepard needed. Aqua screamed with pain as its claws dug into her. Her gleaming blue fur was rapidly stained with red blood.
“You'll pay for hurting her!” roared Boreas.
But Black said: “No! This is not the time to get angry, someone else switch in instead; Toxica, you go!”
But Boreas wasn't about to take no for an answer. Octa immediately wrapped around the advancing Glaceon, blocking his view as well so he wouldn't be able to use his ice attacks. “Calm down, my dear fellow! This is an official battle, we'll be disqualified if you and Toxica both switch in!”
Boreas squirmed against his grip. “Then I'll fight, that Liepard hurt Aqua!”
Octa sighed, having experienced this a bit too often with his hot-blooded friend. “Calm down, my dear fellow, Toxica is already fighting. If she retreats, we'll be another pokémon behind. And what's more: you're in no mood to fight. It's daft to fight with your mind clouded with anger in any case, but against a dark-type? Being a trickster yourself, you should realise just how stupid that is.”
That seemed to get through to him. “If I let you go, will you do something idiotic?” asked Octa.
“No,” sighed Boreas, “I suppose you're right. I'll go take care of Aqua instead, I guess.”
Octa let go of his friend and watched Toxica fight. To his shock she already had large cuts in her flower as well as in her body, leaking saps and blood. But not all was lost, as her flower was brimming with energy absorbed from the light. If she could make the Liepard stand still for a moment...
Toxica threw small Energy Balls from her hands. Octa wondered how much they would hurt Liepard even if she managed to hit it, but then realised they weren't meant for hitting, but for chasing: Liepard had been content to effortlessly dodge the Energy Balls, making Toxica waste her energy, but hadn't realised it had reached the platform's edge. It was too agile to just fall off the edge when it dodged and found no ground under one of its feet, of course, but it was still unbalanced for a moment. Toxica immediately aimed her flower at it, and Octa shut his eyes. His eyelids lit up bright orange seen from inside and he sighed in delight at the sudden influx of light to his chloroplasts. It was over a moment later, and Octa opened his eyes to see the Liepard completely scorched by Toxica's Solarbeam and everyone else rubbing their eyes. He applauded and cheered. “Splendid, my darling, simply splendid!”
She smiled happily at him, though he could see her weariness as well; Solarbeam was a very exhausting move. She winked, and Octa felt his heart beat in his chest and his leaves curl. It was with pain he remembered he was planning to break up with her. He couldn't bear to look her in the eyes.
“Good job, that's my two weakest down. Now let's see what you can do against Drapion!”
Octa's hope sank into his tail as he saw a monstrous purple scorpion appear. It wasn't much bigger than Toxica, but it had a terrifying presence that made it seem far larger. Octa felt an almost instinctive rush to draw his blade and jump between Toxica and the monster. He slithered a bit forward and put his hand on his blade before he halted himself. He winced in horror as Drapion's teeth burst into flame and it tried to bite Toxica. She jumped back but it swung its tail at her, slamming hard into one of her petals and piercing it. A noxious green fluid spread there. Octa could hardly restrain himself.
“Not so easy, is it?” said Boreas unhappily. Octa merely nodded, wincing at the effect it had on Toxica. She tried valiantly to fight back, but her attacks were useless and she was clearly hurt badly by the poison. Drapion made its final strike with its claws, and Toxica was defeated. Octa wanted to step in to defeat the Drapion, but as a grass-type he recognised he stood little chance against it. It was Lucius' turn instead as Octa took care of Toxica.
He jumped into the fray, spitting waves of fire that made an uncontrollable shiver run over Octa's spine. He suppressed the rest of his instinctive fear for fire, as he didn't want to give Lucius the silly idea he was scared of him. He was the single person on the team Octa just didn't like, after all. Though Selene could be rather annoying, Lucius was simply an unpleasant, uncivilised git; though Octa dearly hoped he could defeat Drapion now. He couldn't understand that Boreas seemed to almost like Lucius at times. But he supposed Boreas was more like him than Octa himself was; both lacking a certain respect. But while Boreas was shrewd and kind, Lucius was a simpleton lacking all grace.
Drapion jumped at Lucius, its pincers snapping at his head and neck, but the Houndoom jumped aside rapidly and tried to respond with a Flamethrower. Drapion swung its tail as it missed, impacting Lucius hard with a triumphant growl. Lucius yelped in pain as his shoulder was wounded and dug his teeth deep into the tail. Bleeding heavily, the Drapion tried to smash Lucius with one of its claws, only to find the fire-type's paws holding it back with similarly great strength while he belched a great torrent of fire right into the scorpion's face. A high-pitched squeal like a pig being roasted alive came from the Drapion as it let go of Lucius and fell down.
Lucius howled triumphantly, his mouth still running with the Drapion's blue blood and his poisoned shoulder with his own red blood. “Now who's the stronger dark-type, punk?!” he roared as Black and Boreas cheered. Octa found himself softly applauding Lucius. After all it had been quite impressive.
Octa realised the Drapion was only acting just too late, at the precise moment it knocked Lucius out from behind. “I am,” it said in a voice like gravel scraping over metal.
Octa winced. “Oh dear... My dear fellow, don't lose your temper; we cannot afford to lose another fight...”
Boreas nodded as he grimly stepped forward to face the burnt and bleeding Drapion. Only two of them remaining against four powerful enemies... Octa pondered that their challenge could be over with this very first battle. Black was biting his fingernails nervously. “Oof...” muttered Aqua, waking up again. “How are we doing? Any better than I am personally?”
Lucius had already wounded Drapion pretty badly, and so Boreas didn't have a very difficult first fight. It clumsily staggered towards him, and took only a few Ice Beams to be defeated. Boreas didn't let his eyes leave the fallen Drapion until Grimsley returned it to its pokéball.
“Slightly better now... Three of them left contra two of us.”
Grimsley threw a pokéball, and out came a bipedal lizard whose outer skin hung around its hips like baggy pants. It had a flat face with a permanently stupid expression that put Octa at ease. “Oh, it's only a Scrafty. Boreas can handle a dimwitted creature like that.”
“Don't you think that's a little arrogant?” asked Aqua snidely.
“I hardly think so; methinks Boreas is quite a capable Glaceon. Do you not have confidence in his ability?”
The battle between them began with Boreas firing two Ice Beams at Scrafty, but the lizard nimbly ducked under them and rapidly ran at Boreas on all fours, its head aimed at the Glaceon like a battering ram. He couldn't get out of the way quite fast enough and was hit in the shoulder, launching the fox off his feet, spinning rapidly. It wasn't all bad, though, since Boreas had the wits to create cold around him as he spun through the air, instantly making a powerful, rapidly rotating storm that threw Scrafty away. Both combatants landed poorly, needing a moment to recover from it.
“Of course I do,” said Aqua worriedly. “But it's arrogant to assume the Scrafty is stupid because its face is...”
Octa said nothing, unwilling to admit his mistake to her. Boreas raised himself back on three legs with a pained expression, while Scrafty got up a bit more nimbly and ran at him quickly. Boreas immediately fired an Ice Beam upwards, to the chandelier, hitting the chain that held it up. Octa expected the huge glass chandelier to drop and crush the charging Scrafty, but it just hung there. Then Octa realised why: since metal contained no water, it didn't snap-freeze like many other substances. It would get brittle due to the electrons giving it its elasticity settling down, but it was still as strong...
Boreas discovered this bit of physics in the form of a massive punch heading his way. Octa saw him try to stop it with his Frost Concussion, but the Brick Break wasn't stopped or delayed but hit him very hard, right in the face. Octa winced and Aqua gasped as Boreas made a half somersault from the force of the punch, landing on his back, seemingly defeated. But somehow he rolled out of the way of a finishing kick, blasted an Ice Beam right into his foe's face and, as the lizard howled out in pain and grasped his face, fired another one at his stomach.
Then however it seemed Boreas had to rest after the powerful punch into his face, and this gave Scrafty time to recover as well. They were on their feet again at the same time, though Boreas' bruised face looked worse than Scrafty's frostbitten one. Boreas enveloped himself in a snowstorm and ran at the lizard, but at the very same moment Scrafty jumped high into the air, far too high ever to hit Boreas. Boreas skidded to a halt and tried to run back, away from the chandelier: Scrafty jumped right by the frozen part of the chain holding it up and punched the brittle metal.
The chandelier fell terrifyingly in what almost seemed to be slow-motion. Boreas' desperate scrambling away was futile, the chandelier fell too fast. Octa let out a brief scream of horror for his friend's impending doom descending upon him in that special way only a huge glass chandelier can. Only Black's quick reaction saved Boreas, as he disappeared just before the chandelier crashed into the ground like a meteorite striking the Earth. It shattered into a million pieces of glass flying everywhere with a tremendous roar. Octa found a thin film of water protecting him and the others, stopping some of the glass and slowing the rest of it down to safer speeds. He gratefully nodded to Aqua.
Boreas reappeared looking very shocked. “Outwitted by a fighting-type...” he gasped.
“And nearly killed,” Octa added with equal shock. “But do not forget 'tis a dark-type as well. I made the mistake of underestimating it; a mistake I shall not readily make again.” Which is why I know the odds of my victory are smaller than an atom suffering from dwarf-growth.
He slithered forward and used two vines to sweep away the shards ahead of him. He regretted his lack of legs now, realising this would be far easier as a Servine. Scrafty had not just defeated Boreas: he had made manoeuvring as good as impossibly for Octa. “Impressive,” he complimented his enemy, who seemed in no hurry to get into melee in its weakened state.
Octa further extended his vines, reaching out to his opponent. It jumped away, seemingly trying to use the semi-darkness that filled the tower now that its main source of light lay in a million pieces, but Octa had no problem seeing it jump around. He caught it with his vines, and quickly drained the struggling lizard of what little energy it had left after Boreas. But now, he knew, came the difficult part.
Or perhaps not, as Grimsley sent out a Krookodile. Octa didn't like that one bit: while it was possible Grimsley sent out the Krookodile because his other remaining pokémon was also at a type disadvantage, it seemed more likely it was part of some scheme. Perhaps the idea was to make Octa underestimate his opponent, or maybe just to soften him up for the final pokémon. Or perhaps there was some other kind of trick. Octa felt apprehensive and worried. Victory depended solely on him now...
As the large, bipedal crocodile rapidly ran at him, Octa grabbed it with his vines and began draining its energy. The ground trembled with its every step, and glass near its feet, and probably under them as well, shattered to dust. Krookodile kept going, despite Octa draining its energy. He drew his Leaf Blade as he realised his opponent was going to reach him, and tried to parry its attack as it pounced him, claws and jaws spread and roaring like a madman. Octa parried one heavy claw with his Leaf Blade, but a phenomenal force knocked the blade out of his hand and sent it flying. Impacts like a collision with a sharpened train hit Octa, he was bitten with such force the pain was dull and sharp at the same time, and a crushing impact launched him. He squealed in pain as he landed on the scattered glass, and weakly struggled to keep his head away from the ground.
Krookodile raged and ran at him again, and he did something he hadn't done in a while: he made a Leaf Tornado. His increased power since he was a Servine, however, made it much more powerful: a phenomenal gale with sharpened leaves stormed over the battlefield, blowing most torches out and pelting Krookodile with leaves and glass as it swept the nearly-dark battlefield mostly clean. Krookodile struggled against the Leaf Storm to try and reach Octa, but it was powerless with the sharpened leaves and shards of glass cutting it. As it fell down, Octa stopped the storm and panted, exhausted from the powerful move. He grabbed his Leaf Blade and fervently hoped the final pokémon would be weak.
“Good, good!” laughed Grimsley. “This is more fun than I thought! Let's finish it, Bisharp!”
A red, metallic figure like a living suit of armour from another planet's mediaeval period appeared. It had large, sharpened claws on the ends of its arms and a ridge on its head that looked like it could cut through steel. Two tiny eyes seemed the only part of the man-high creature that was made of flesh and blood.
“A steel-type,” groaned Octa, “and I'm already so weary...” He held his blade in front of his face as a salute, then crossed blades with his opponent. He felt its strength reverberate through his weary, wounded body, but could handle it for the moment. He immediately redirected his blade to stop the attack of the other arm. They fenced rapidly, Octa's single Leaf Blade against two metal ones. It was an obvious disadvantage, and he almost never had time to attack, having to parry two blades. He could've made a second Leaf Blade, but since he had no experience fighting with two blades it seemed a very bad idea.
Octa had to slide back constantly, yielding terrain to dodge and parry his stronger, two-bladed opponent. He tried to strike Bisharp from behind with his tail, but it nimbly sidestepped. However, that gave Octa an opening to attack, and so he stabbed his blade, pushing the attempt to block it away, and hit the Bisharp right in the chest. To as good as no effect. Its strong armour held back Octa's blade, and he had to parry attacks immediately again, in the knowledge his own skin certainly wouldn't do the same to metal blades. Parrying several attacks from alternating sides each second, Octa tried to aim for his enemy's eyes whenever he had a chance to attack, but Bisharp protected them well. If you have only one weak spot to protect, you get quite good at that.
Octa was exhausted, panting heavily, and his muscles hurt. He began to slow down, and received a few small cuts from poorly-parried attacks. Suddenly he nearly fell off the platform's edge as he dodged back another attack. His enemy had him cornered. But an idea popped up in Octa's mind. He made a wild stab to his enemy's left eye, trying not to let the severe flash of pain as his enemy punished him with a deep gash with one blade while blocking with the other stop him. His enemy stepped closer to the edge as it parried, and Octa followed up with another careless lunge that Bisharp easily parried. But as it did so, it shifted its balance, and Octa's tail hit its back hard at the same moment. After a single moment of uncertainty, Bisharp plummeted over the edge with a metallic cry.
Octa was almost unable to believe it was over. They had actually defeated a member of the Elite Four! A part of him inside simply nodded and smiled and said “of course I did, I'm of the house Equinox.” Another part of him, however, a long-repressed part of self-doubt and fear, couldn't believe he had duelled an Elite Four's Bisharp while wounded and came out the victor. A part of him felt ashamed that this had looked like a beautiful civilised hall of a nobleman before the battle and now looked like a barbarian horde had ransacked the place. And finally there was a part of him that just wanted to scream at the deep cuts he'd received executing his little plan. He was tired and hurt enough that he'd most like to just lay down, but he desired to keep his dignity and instead calmly sheathed his blade and said “I believe we are victorious.”
“...But then the giant chandelier came down, just as I was about to defeat it! Of course, I saw it coming and was already running out of the way to safety, but just as I was about to jump out of the way... Black returned me to my pokéball. Otherwise I'd have easily beaten that Scrafty. But he thought I was about to die, so it's alright really. Besides, it gave Octa a chance to show off his mad skills with the sword. I mean, their swords were flashing so fast it was hard to follow it with your eyes when he fought that Bisharp! Octa, tell us about it again.”
Octa was shaken from thought by Boreas' request to continue the tale. He had told it five times already, but enjoyed it every time... However, he was rather preoccupied right now, and not really enjoying their little victory celebration any more. He quickly finished his drink. “Hmm? Why don't you tell it, my dear fellow? I think I shall be calling it a night, for we have another battle to fight tomorrow and 'tis late already.”
“Aww...” pouted Boreas. “But I guess you're right about that. We should be getting to bed...” He suddenly grabbed and kissed Aqua. “But that's no reason to stop celebrating, is it?”
“You're right,” giggled Aqua, “we should have a little private celebration...”
“Well, have fun then, but don't keep each other up too long, you'll need your rest for tomorrow.” Octa and the others left to go to their own rooms. Challengers were given quite luxurious accommodations at the League, as every pokémon had a room of their own. Lucius and Selene quickly disappeared to their own rooms, but Toxica walked along with him. “Kinda cute, innit,” she giggled, “seeing them so happy together. I don't suppose Aqua's room will be slept in tonight...”
Octa, rather preoccupied, simply said: “Hmm. I suppose it won't...”
In a low, flirtatious voice, she continued: “And what about my room? Do you suppose it will be slept in?”
They had arrived at Octa's room, but his conscience forbade him from letting Toxica come in with him while he considered dumping her, though the celebratory alcohol in his blood thought it was a great idea. “My apologies, my darling, but I want to rest for tomorrow's battle. For while our victory today was impressive, this was but the first of five battles we have to win. So methinks 'tis better if we sleep in our own rooms and rest well.”
“Well... We don't need to... 'Celebrate'. It would be very nice just to sleep together, cuddling. Literally just sleeping together, I mean.”
“My apologies, but I really think we should sleep in our own rooms tonight.” Octa took Toxica's hand and kissed it. “Goodnight.” He entered his room and shut the door, sighing.
“You made a wise choice,” said a voice.
“Entei's entrails!” cursed Octa. “Gaius! What in the name of Jirachi's little toe are you doing here?”
Gaius smiled. “I'm simply visiting my brother, and I'm about to congratulate him on a battle well-fought. I thought it best to speak to you in this manner, for I do not believe your friends like me very much, though this is partially my own fault for losing my temper.”
“I'm afraid it is,” said Octa, recovering from the shock.
“But enough about that. I wish to congratulate you. I truly believed you were going to lose, but you actually managed to defeat three opponents on your own. I'm proud of you, little brother: you showed the true skill and spirit of Equinox today. I must be honest with you: I had begun to doubt the strength of your blood. Evidently I was mistaken in my doubt, and I hope you can forgive me for that.”
“No, you weren't.” Octa sighed, realising this was the time to tell someone about his failure. “I dishonoured myself on Victory Road, Gaius...” He told his brother how he had cowardly given up hope, and his wish to increase the strength in his blood and even his idea to become more like his ancestors by following their ways... Including dumping Toxica.
Gaius smiled friendlily. “My brother, you are still a true Equinox. However, you are one who has strayed away from our traditions and rules by courting a commoner and disobeying his family. 'Tis to be expected such transgressions would cause your splendour to fade. However, I do not believe your mistake is irreversible. 'Tis time you listened to the wisdom of the family, Octa. Toxica may be quite decent, for a commoner, but she does not deserve you. Your courtship has to end, and the sooner the better, for the fate of Unova rests on your leaves.”
It pained Octa, but he knew his brother was right. Yet it was so final now that he had told his solution to Gaius... At least he could've backed out of it without anyone knowing before. “Yes,” he sighed. “I know it has to...”